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Fantasia on the Old Melody "Urbs beata" (Blessed city, heavenly Salem), Op. 112

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (02/06/19)
Composer: Faulkes, William
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Early 20th century
William Faulkes (1863-1933), composer, organist, pianist, arranger, recitalist, teacher, chamber musician, conductor, musical organizer. Remarkably, for a composer so fluent and prolific, Faulkes was consistently omitted from the major dictionaries of music. From time to time, he is found in smaller more specific dictionaries at times, and is sometimes described as a leader of the modern English school of organ playing; or a leading composer of the English romantic school of organ playing.

Born in Liverpool, at the age of 10 became a chorister at St. Margaret's Church, Anfield, which was the largest brick church in England, and had the largest organ in Liverpool. At the age of 18, he was appointed organist of St. John's, Tue Brook, and five years later returned to St. Margaret's. He had a fine all-male (all volunteer) choir, and the level of musical excellence at the church was significant. As an organist, he was a brilliant performer, and earned the admiration of the leading British organist of the time, W. T. Best.

Like the Hollins "Pastorale" that I uploaded yesterday, this work is found in Volume 8 of the "Village Organist" series, published by Novello in 1907.

The "brief but large" fantasia is based upon the ancient plainsong, "Urbs beata Jerusalem", which is typically sung at the Dedication of a church, or at the yearly Patronal Festival.

Faulkes keep the excitement high with quick modulations, bold passagework and quick tempos. Despite the fact that the work is relatively short, there is a grandness about it.

This melody is often set in a more "mystical manner," but Faulkes sticks his usually musical mannerisms, and although this isn't him at his most creative, the always-immaculate craftsmanship is present throughout as any Faulkes follower will be accustomed to hearing!

The score is attached below, with photos of William Faulkes, and the two churches around which his career centered.

The "Sonata in D Minor" is coming, just as soon as I can do it!
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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