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Meditation on "Luise" (Meditations on Communion Hymns, No. 2)

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Blackburn Cathedral

Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (11/18/19)
Composer: Sowerby, Leo
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Mid-20th Century
Leo Sowerby (1895-1968), often called the "Dean of American church music," was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he began to compose at the age of ten. His interest in the organ began at the age of 15, he was self-taught at the instrument. He studied composition with Arthur Olaf Andersen at the American Conservatory of Music, Chicago. He spent time in France during World War 1 in the role of bandmaster. In 1921 he was awarded the Rome Prize, the first composer to receive this. He joined the American Conservatory of Music as faculty in 1924. In addition he received the 1946 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his cantata, the "Canticle of the Sun," written in 1944. In 1927 he became organist-choirmaster at St James’s Episcopal Church, Chicago. Previously, Sowerby was associate organist at Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago (1919).In 1962, after his retirement from St James’s, he was called to Washington National Cathedral to become the founding director of the College of Church Musicians, a position he held until his death in 1968. His substantial output includes over 500 works in every genre but opera and ballet. His later works, done at St James's, Chicago, and Washington Cathedral, are primarily church music for choir and organ.

Published by H.W. Gray in 1942 by, "Meditation on 'Luise'" is the 2nd in a set of six. It is a continuously-flowing work, which is sort of "mystical" in nature. This would be appropriate, as these pieces are intended to be played during the distribution of Holy Communion.

Sowerby would have been using the "1940 Hymnal," which was the official hymnal of the American Episcopal Church, so, he uses the name of "Luise" for this well-known tune which was composed by Johann Crüger (1598-1662).

Today the tune is identified by the original German name of the tune, "Jesus, meine Zuversicht."

The score (piece and hymn) are attached below, as well as several photos of Leo Sowerby, and a copy of a painting of Johann Crüger.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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