John Arthur Meale (1880-1932) was born in Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, England, Dec. 18th, 1880, and died in Hendon, Dec. 9th, 1932. The name was spelt Meal in the register of births.
He was a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, and served as organist of Marsden Congregational Church, 1896-99, of Selby Wesleyan Church, 1899-1905, of The Queens Hall, Hull, 1905-12, and of Westminster Central Hall, London, beginning in 1912.
Meale composed organ pieces, anthems, and songs.
"Abbey Bells" was published in 1941 by Amsco Music Publishing Co. Inc. in New York City, so, this is obviously a reprint/reissue of an English printed original.
As with yesterday's piece, this one is a period-perfect, town hall special. I've tried to be completely "naturally expressive" throughout, but have tried hard NOT to sentimentalize it, as this would kill it, making it sound silly or corny.
After a brief introduction the theme appears in the tenor registration, set against a light accompaniment. The "middle section" is the tune again, this time in chords in the left hand, and played upon the vox humana. The right hand features rippling (h)arpeggios, which must surely make reference to the hymn text that I think inspired the composition. (see First Comment) The opening material returns, and the piece settles in for an atmospheric close.
I wish that I could have gotten softer at the end, but this is as soft as it goes. Salisbury really can not just "dissolve away" despite MANY attempts to get it do so!
The details of this piece are FAR harder than they might appear. The vox humana section was very tricky to get right, and it was hard to get all the many details without missing something - the left hand chords, pedalling, swell box usage, etc. :-)
The score is attached below, as well as a photo of Arthur Meale and of the Westminster Central Hall are included.
The first verse of the hymn that I THINK served as inspiration for this work are given in the First Comment.