Alec Rowley (1892-1958) was born in London on 13 March 1892. He was renowned as a teacher, composer, organist, pianist, lecturer and write. He studied at the RAM with Frederick Corder and where he won sundry scholarships and prizes. He was an organist at several London churches including, during the Second World War, St Margaret's, Westminster.
Rowley was a superb teacher, who did much to assist the student. Unfortunately, this labeled him as a "writer of children's music" in the eyes of some.
It was published by Edwin Ashdown, Ltd., in 1949, and is four movements.
The first, "Prelude" is rather standard Rowley. The harmonies are colorful and the textures are varied. The melodic lines are quite concise, and Rowley intermingles his distinctive harmonic style with "English 20th century modality."
Te second movement, "Canzona" is, in my opinion, the high-point of the entire suite. The texture is light and always moving. The delightful harmonies show Rowley in his most comfortable moments, always shifting, but still calming in it's shimmering beauty. The wonderful Solo Clarinet is featured as the "solo stop" in this movement, and really does the job!
The third movement, "Aspiration" flows along nicely, reaching a modest climax, but never getting too grandiose. Notice how Rowley shifts his "groupings" in the phrases? This keeps the music from ever becoming "square or flat."
The final movement, "Toccata" shows a good bit of French-influence, but I'd say it's more in the style of Dubois or Gigout, as opposed to the more "modern" toccatas. The key of B minor, along with the endless figurations also "related" to the famous Gigout, but only in effect. The work passes through a slower and more quiet section, but the ending is grandiose without doubt!
I wouldn't say this is Rowley "at his very best," but is still a fine and brilliant work!
The score is attached below, as well as several photos of AR, which by this time, should be WELL KNOWN to my listeners!