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March for a Harvest Festival (13 Original Compositions No. 10)

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (05/27/20)
Composer: Blair, Hugh
Sample Producer: Audio Angelorum
Sample Set: Peterborough Cathedral Hill
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Early 20th century
OK, here's yet another one for the Elgar fans out there!

For those of you who like British organ music of the recent past Erzahler and I are uploading these 13 short pieces. Composed around 1909 they vary a bit in their complexity and demands on the player and were dedicated to Mrs E Grose Hodge, Holy Trinity Rectory, Marlebone, London.

Hugh Blair (25 May 1864 – 22 July 1932) was an English musician, composer and organist. Born in Worcester, he was the son of Rev. Robert Hugh Blair, who founded Worcester College for the Blind in 1866. A chorister at Worcester Cathedral and a pupil at The King's School, Worcester, Blair was organ scholar at Christ's College, Cambridge, graduating B.A. 1886, Mus.B. 1887, M.A. 1896 and Mus.D. 1906.

He was Organist of Worcester Cathedral from 1895 to 1897, having been Acting Organist before that time. Edward Elgar dedicated his cantata "The Black Knight" to Blair, who was conductor of the Worcester Festival Choral Society.

This is quite a fine march. It's busy, and fussy, but, so is much of Blair's writing. I found that the MM mark of 112 is too quick, at least if you want to play all the notes!

Blair must have had BIG hands...

The opening section begins with a fanfare based upon the opening notes of the hymn "Wir pflügen," upon which the piece is based.

(This is my 2nd "Wir pflügen" in the last few weeks, but is very different from the setting by Ernest Dicks:

After the first section concludes, it passes immediately to the middle section which is a nice, reharmonized setting of the hymn.

This leads directly to the recap, preceded by a fanfare, and a grandiose conclusion and coda. The dialogue between the full and the Solo tuba are not indicated, but seem natural. Since the final chord is "low," I really should have added the tuba to the final chord.

This piece is not easy, and it gave me a workout.

The score is attached below, as well as photos of Blair & Worcester.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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