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Jerusalem the Golden - A favourite Hymn Tune with Variations and Finale

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The Gió Riverside


Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (06/14/20)
Composer: Spark, William
Sample Producer: Audio Angelorum
Sample Set: Peterborough Cathedral Hill
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Romantic
Description:
William Spark (1823-1897) was the son of a lay-vicar of Exeter Cathedral and later became a chorister there, and studied with Samuel Sebastian Wesley, the greatest church musician of the day, He moved to to Leeds in 1842, when Wesley was named organist of Leeds Parish Church. Spark became his deputy/assistant there.

He then worked as organist and choirmaster at Chapeltown Church. In 1850 he was appointed organist to St George's Church, and in 1859 he helped to design the organ for Leeds Town Hall together with Henry Smart. The following year he was appointed Leeds Municipal Organist and held the post until his death in 1897.

He was a major contributor to the musical life of 19th century Leeds. He founded the Leeds Madrigal and Motet Society and the Leeds Recreation Society. The latter organised People's Concerts in the Albion Street Music Hall from 1852-1859. From 1864 he helped to organised orchestral subscription concerts at Leeds Town Hall and was a key organizer of the Leeds Triennial Musical Festivals.

During his lifetime he served as editor of various musical publications and wrote several books in addition to numerous organ and choral compositions.

"Jerusalem the Golden - A favourite Hymn Tune with Variations and Finale" was published in "The Organist's Quarterly Journal, Vol. 4."

It's solid music, creative in its own way, but probably somewhat "lacking" in depth. The harmonies are conventional to be sure, and the format for the various variations are all very standard for its day. However, the writing is pleasing, and gives a good chance for variety of color.

The music has an appeal, at least to me, probably aided by the fact that the tune upon which this is based. "Ewing" was composed by Alexander Ewing (1830-1895). It is one of my favorite hymns, but it has all but vanished from modern usage.

The score is attached below, as well as photos of William Spark, Leeds Town Hall (building and organ) and of Leeds Parish Church, now Leeds Minster.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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