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, Marylebone, 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.
Most all of the pieces that I have played in this collection have been demanding in both technical and "organ management" ways. THIS ONE was a real buster...
Again the spirit of Edward Elgar is present, The opening section immediately sets forth the terms, and we have an almost military-like movement, full of Edwardian strut and confident pomposity.
This leads directly into the wonderful middle section which is softer but not slower. Again, Elgar would sure approve of the outcome. A piece like this is murder to get right, as there are modulations, pedal "rolls" and pistons galore, working back in a big crescendo, always "in time" and never slowing.
A shortened version of the first section is capped off but an almost over-the-top cadenza, which features a long pedalpoint, many pistons, a big crescendo, and even bigger rush to the conclusion.
I loved this piece, but it wore me out - and I'm not kidding! ;-)
My thanks to my Erzahler, my collaboration partner and good friend! THANKS, Andrew!
The score is attached below, as well as photos of Blair & of Worcester.