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(Prelude) on "Richmond" (Twelve Short Preludes, Set 2, No. 9)

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (02/23/19)
Composer: Gray, Alan
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Early 20th century
Alan Gray (23 December 1855 – 27 September 1935) was a British organist and composer. He was born in York, and attended St Peter's School and Trinity College, Cambridge. From 1883 until 1893 he was Director of Music at Wellington College. In 1893 he returned to Cambridge, succeeding C.V.Stanford as organist of Trinity College, and remained organist there until 1930. He died in Cambridge in 1935 at the age of 79. Among his compositions are music for the Anglican services, the monumental anthem, "What are these that glow from afar?", which was written to commemorate those who fell in World War I, and numerous organ works, many of high quality, and many extremely difficult. Sadly, his organ works have all but disappeared from the repertoire, even from the repertoire of English organists.

Gray was a TALL man, who stood at 6'7"! However he was said to be very gentle, especially with choristers, who loved him greatly. He is still thought of with words of praise at Trinity College.

The Twelve Short Preludes, Set 2 are dedicated to Noel Ponsonby (1891-1928), who was successively organist of the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, 1912-14; Marlborough College, 1914-18; Ely Cathedral, 1919-26; Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, 1926-28.

The ninth piece in the second set, "On 'Richmond'" is in the key of G major, and is based upon the fine hymn-tune, "Richmond", composed by Thomas Haweis (1734-1820). This tune is associated with a variety of texts.

Gray really does a beautiful job with this one. The melody appears in the pedal, while nicely related and decorative material soars above. The mood is light and bright, and never ponderous or bombastic.

I don't think I can recall any other setting of this tune, but even if I did, THIS ONE is very fine!

These pieces may be "simple," but are by NO means "easy," at least in any significant way.

The score is attached below, as well as photos of Alan Gray, of Trinity College Chapel, and of his memorial in Trinity College ante-chapel.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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