Today, June 11th, is the Feast of Corpus Christi, the liturgical solemnity celebrating the Real Presence of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the elements of the Eucharist. It is always observed on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday.
Charles William Pearce (1856-1928) was born in Salisbury, and was a chorister at St. Martin's Church there. He was a pupil of W. S. Hoyte (All Saint's Church, Margaret St., London) and of the famous E. J. Hopkins (Temple Church, London), and received his doctorate from Cambridge in 1884.
He was organist of St. Clement's, Eastcheap, London, and was professor of harmony, counterpoint and composition at Trinity College in London. He was an active member of the Royal College of Organists, and later became Dean of Trinity College and Honorary Treasurer to the London Section of the Incorporated Guild of Church Musicians.
"Choral Prelude on 'Pange Lingua'" is the second of "Two Choral Preludes on Ancient Plainsong Hymn Tune Melodies," dedicated "To his friend, C. Harford Lloyd, Esq. M.A. Mus. D. Oxon, Precentor of Eton College" and published by The Vincent Music Co. Ltd. in 1903.
It is a mystical piece, fashioned in what I'd call a sort of "ceremonial processional." Grand processionals are always part of the celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi.
The work begins quietly, but soon begins to build up in sound and density. The level of volume and excitement increases until a tremendous climax is reached.
The massive moment is interrupted after a glorious cadence on the full organ, and the mystical mood of the beginning returns.
When you first look at the way this is registered and laid out, it may look "odd" to you, but you must follow the indications as close as possible if you wish to achieve these results.
I've done two different versions, one the cathedral one, and the other, a smaller "parish version," which is probably closer to the sounds Pearce had.
The score and photos are attached below.