Alec Rowley was born in London on 13 March 1892, teacher, composer, organist, pianist, lecturer and writer, who studied at the RAM with Frederick Corder and where he won sundry scholarships and prizes. He was an organist at several London churches including, during the Second World War, St Margaret's, Westminster. He died on 11 January 1958 while playing tennis.
Rowley was a superb teacher, who did much to assist the student. Unfortunately, this labeled him as a "writer of children's music" in the eyes of some.
He was a fine organist, have gained his FRCO by the time he was 16. His largest organist position was at St. Alban's, Teddington, a large and important church. It was during his time at this church that Rowley married and then divorced. Divorce for someone working in the church was not tolerated, and Rowley was ostracized by the parish clergy, and was forced to leave his position.
Rowley, who had always been devout was devastated by their treatment of him, and it ended his "participation" in organized religion. It also essentially ended his playing the organ, and it seems that many of his later organ pieces were probably NEVER actually played by him.
"Four Seasonal Improvisations" were published by Hinrichsen in 1948. The second, "Good Christian Men" is obviously for Christmastide. It is the same tune as "In dulci jubilo."
This all-too-brief piece is very typical of Rowley's style. The rapid passing through of keys, the fragmented phrases, the dynamic variety all show his compositional fingerprints, and very nicely so!
I had forgotten to do this one, so, I was able to add an unexpected Christmas surprise to the ongoing Rowley Riot, which will be returning big-time in 2019!
In fact, there is another Rowley piece coming VERY soon, even before the turn of the year!
The score is attached below, as well as several photos of Rowley and some of the churches at which he served as organist.
Peace and Good Wishes to All!