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.
"Adagio in E-flat" was published by Joseph Williams Limited in 1934, as part of their "Modern British Organ Music Series". It is without dedication.
This lovely piece shows Rowley in his "middle period." It's definitely a "romantic" work, but there are little touches that "modernize" the effort, and the whole is extremely satisfying. It is in the form or Rowley's favored, "grand arch," starting softy, reaching a grand climax, heralded by flourishes, before sinking down to an exquisite final cadence, one that shows the "Rowley wrap-up" at its best.
Speaking of "Rowley Rap-Ups," I hope to conclude my Rowley Riot in the next few months, so, stay tuned!
I dedicate this piece with pleasure to my good friend, our member, RSCMJOHN.
The score and photos are attached below.
HAPPY NEW YEAR to ALL!