Harold Edwin Darke was born in London, October 29, 1888, he studied the organ with Parratt and attended the Royal College of Music, where he studied composition with Charles Villiers Stanford. He had a world-wide reputation as one of the finest organists of his era. He held positions at Emmanuel Church, West Hampstead (1906) and at St. James's Paddington. For fifty years from 1916 to 1966, he was organist of St. Michael's Cornhill, London. His weekly Monday lunch time recitals there became an institution. During the second war he deputised at Kings College, Cambridge for Boris Ord from 1941 to 1945, who was on war service. Darke was president of the Royal College of Organists 1940-41 and a member of the teaching staff at the R.C.O. from 1919 to 1966, in which year he was appointed C.B.E. He died at Cambridge on November 28, 1976.
"The Hovingham Sketches" are a collection of organ works dating from 1982, including this work by Darke, as well as pieces by Francis Jackson, Arthur Willis, Eric Thiman, and others. Eight of these works, including this one, are published in a volume issued by Banks Music Publications.
The title page reads:
FOREWARD by HRH The Duchess of Kent
"Having all my life been a lover of organ music (I think she studied with Jackson), I was immensely touched and proud when The Royal College of Organists in 1974 presented me with a book of short pieces compiled by distinguished British organists.
I am delighted that these are now to be published so that my own pleasure in them can be shared with all those who enjoy music of this beautiful instrument."
Some of these pieces are by no means "easy."
"An Interlude" is very representative of the style that Darke excelled in. It is "pastoral" in nature, and structure within the "grand arch" format. The mood is peaceful and nostalgic, but is certainly much more than just "wandering" without purpose!
Photos of Harold Darke, St. Michael's Church, Cornhill, and of Hovingham Hall are attached below.