James Lyon (1872-1949) was, born in Manchester and was almost entirely self taught. He went however to Oxford and became a Mus Doc of that university in 1905.
He himself later taught at Bantock's Birmingham and Midland Institute and also at St Michael's College Tenbury, King Edward's School, Warwick and Trinity College London. He examined and adjudicated widely. He died in Australia on 25 August 1949.
His music was described as "Neo-Romantic" in style and he certainly had a taste for writing dramatic music, his output including four operas but was quite prolific as a writer of orchestral works, including a symphony and four suites. In addition, there a number of significant chamber works.
The organ attracted him particularly and he wrote for it three sonatas, two suites and individual movements with titles like Alla Marcia, Berceuse, Dominus Regnavit, Festival March, a Minuet and Trio and a Prelude in D Flat. Of this repertoire, the first Sonata, in C minor, which Percy Whitlock included in his recitals, is considered his best of these.
"Festival March" was published by G. Schirmer Ltd. in 1915. This work would be equally at home in a Town Hall recital, or as a festive postlude or fanfare. It has a strong appeal, and use of the classic English organ sounds, from Solo Tuba to Full Swell and full, thunderous Pedal are all here in abundance!
Nothing is wasted. The piece moves along briskly, never losing its drive or interest. It evens with a "big production Hollywood" conclusion, so, I'm pretty sure that my listeners will like this one!
The score is attached below, as well as photo of St. Michael's College, Tenbury in happier times when it was a very special place with a superb choir and musical tradition.
If you enjoyed this piece by Lyon, I really encourage you to listen to his arrangement of
"Dornröslein". This one, I GUARANTEE will make you smile! :-)