Édouard Silas (b. Amsterdam, Holland, Aug. 22nd, 1827) studied in Paris with Kalkbrenner, François Benoist and Halévy; at the Paris Conservatoire, gaining first prize for organ, 1849. He moved to London in 1850 and became Organist of the Catholic Chapel, Kingston-on-Thames. He was a professor at the Guildhall School of Music, London, and composed cantatas, church music, organ pieces, orchestral and chamber music, piano pieces, songs, etc. He died in 1909.
"Andante" can be found in Vol. 1 of the LARGE collection, "The Organist's Quarterly Journal," published by Novello in 8 volumes, and the music covers the full spectrum, with difficulties ranging from simple to highly virtuosic.
"Andante" seems to me to be sort of a "mixture of styles." The Germanic school is present to be sure, but there is certainly English aspects as well. Perhaps even hints at Guilmant appear here and there. I also felt similarities to Franck's "Fantasie in C," but that might be largely because of the key.
The opening is quiet and balanced, when, without warning, the key changes to C minor and the dynamic to fortissimo. Chorale-like phrases are interspersed with passages and flourishes that reminded me somewhat of Mendelssohn's "First Sonata," but without Mendelssohn's intellectual impact.
Because of my pushing of MANY buttons, I'm often asked whether I'm using the crescendo pedal. The answer is: NEVER!
However, this time, I did use it just once, because I think it's the "correct way" to use this organ!
The score is attached below, as well as a drawing of Édouard Silas.
I recently had a major computer crash, losing my hard drive and motherboard. Fortunately, I backup all my stuff regularly, but it's still a big setback.
This recording is made upon my first HW computer, which is much smaller and with fewer capabilities.
I won't have the full setup running for 2 more weeks.
Tomorrow is the first day of Autumn, and I have a rarity ready to mark the occasion of the changing season!