The Canadian Enclycolpedia says this about the "early" organ works of Healey Willan (1880-1968): With the music for organ one enters a different world. Here Willan was thoroughly at home and made a significant and lasting contribution. One work stands out: the monumental "Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue" of 1916. It represents the culmination of Willan's first period of organ composition, which started ca 1906 with a Fantasia on 'Ad coenam agni.' The Preludes and Fugues in C minor and B minor and the "Epilogue" are the other major works from this period. While not exploring the possibilities of the instrument as searchingly as his masterpiece, they are idiomatic and very typical of their time. They combine an innate Englishness (with a Stanfordian flavour) and a European chromaticism that can be found in Reger and Karg-Elert.
Born in England, Willan became organist-choirmaster of Toronto's largest church, St. Paul's, Bloor Street, but it was his royalties as a composer which allowed him to leave "low church" St. Paul's in 1921 and to become Precentor of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Toronto).
"Matins" is taken from "Two Pieces for Organ," published by C. F. Peters in 1961. It present brief "pictures" of the two, daily Offices in Anglican Worship - Matins (Morning Prayer) and Evensong (Evening Prayer).
These two uploads are offered as part of the "announcement" of the release of this wonderful new sample set, which I will soon be reviewing for "The Barde".
Like any English music played upon this organ, you will need to be "creative" in the ways that you use the instrument. While the outcome may not be "pure English," I think you will find the results musically satisfying.
Playing in these acoustics makes me feel very relaxed! For me, I feel like I'm "floating on top of the sounds," and I can hear this coming through, when I listen to my playback. :-)
The score is attached below, as well as some photos of Healey Willan.
MORE Willan to come!