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Alla Marcia / Impromptu

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (07/29/19)
Composer: Huss, Henry Holden
Sample Producer: Audio Angelorum
Sample Set: Peterborough Cathedral Hill
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Romantic
Henry Holden Huss (June 21, 1862 in Newark, New Jersey – September 17, 1953 in New York City) was an American composer, pianist and music teacher. Huss grew up in New York City, the son of German immigrant parents. After studying piano and organ locally with a teacher who had trained at the Leipzig Conservatory, Huss traveled to Munich to study at the Royal Conservatory with Josef Rheinberger. His fellow students at the Royal Music School in Munich included Arthur Whiting and H. W. Parker.

After graduating, he returned to the States and embarked on a career as a touring piano virtuoso. As a composer, he was regarded as one of the best of his generation by those who counted, but unfortunately, it was at a time when American composers could rarely get a hearing for their works.

In addition to his accomplishments as a pianist and teacher, he was also founder of the American Guild of Organists.

I think the two works that I found may be Huss's only published organ works. Both of them were published by the J. B. Millett Company in 1896. Millett had a large collection of organ and piano works, many of them written by American composers.

"Alla Marcia / Impromptu" really struck me as a neat piece. I instantly liked it! Apparently Huss was undecided about whether to title this as "Alla Marcia" or "Impromptu," so both titles are given.

It's march-like to be sure, but there something more, well, "impropt" about it! From the double echos, to the whimsical phrases, the piece is very distinctive. It also seems like Huss has a "unique" harmonic usage. I would pick this as a piece from a Rheinberger student!

I really urge my American colleagues to take a look at this. We don't play enough organ music "from the day," as it has become very unfashionable to play it. :-( There's a lot of good stuff around, you just have to find it!

The score is attached below, as well as several photos of Henry Holden Huss, who was born about 12 miles from where I'm sitting as I type!
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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