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Meditation on an old Welsh Air

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (03/17/19)
Composer: Middleton, James Roland
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: St Mary-le-Bow, London
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Mid-20th century
James Roland Middleton (1896-1983) served as organist of Chester, Chelmsford and St. Asaph's Cathedrals.

He published "Three Pieces" (Stainer & Bell, 1952), and "Mediation on an old Welsh Air" (Hinrichsen, 1954).

I found this to be a very attractive piece. The tune is "familiar," but in may just "sound" so. If you sing "Away in a manger," you can make the words nicely fit the tune. :-)

I chose this piece to show of the possibilities of the extended version of the St. Mary-le-Bow sample set, soon to be released by Lavender Audio.

The "extended" aspect adds to the "flexibility" of the instrument, in addition to some enhancements and variety in sound. Mostly, it "adds a Choir division," giving more ease of usage.

"Meditation on an old Welsh Air" is dedicated "To my wife" and is really a very expressive piece. There is a feeling of combing modern harmonies with a much older style of music. In this performance, I began by playing the tune directly before playing the piece.

To be sure, some "adaption" is necessary in terms of following the composer's directions. The Cromorne (in the Choir in the extended version) is a "big" stop, and well nicely-toned, is intended for the French classic literature.

I probably could have found some "workaround," but I chose not to, as my intent is to demo the organ, and not my "inventiveness." I did do a fairly large "English crescendo," and this came off quite well, although this is NOT an easy instrument to manage this upon! The very fine acoustics helped greatly in making this possibly, as this would have been extremely difficult in a dry room.

I've attached several photos of the cathedrals where Middleton served as organist below.

More Mary-le-Bow demos to follow!

Coming soon: Alan Gray's "Idyll No. 1" for the first day of spring. :-)
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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