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Angelus ad Virginem (Two Plainsong Preludes, No. 1)

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (11/30/20)
Composer: Pearce, Charles W.
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Early 20th century
Description:
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 'Angelus ad Virginem'" is the first 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.

This is really a neat piece, and VERY different from the "type" of thing you hear in our modern days!

For its subject, it uses the famous medieval carol, whose text is a poetic version of the Hail Mary and the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary.

Pearce sets the well-known tune in a most unique way, given dialogue to soft phrases, which are sometimes intoned on the Swell Vox Humana, and these melodic phrases are accompanied by busy and tricky staccato chords played upon Choir flutes 8' & 4', or just upon the 8' alone. These quiet phrases are interrupted by the melody, played upon the almost full Great, after which the soft and sparkling busy phrases return.

It's pretty clear that Pearce is portraying the conversation between the young Mary, showing her happy meekness and the majestically powerful words of the Angel Gabriel.

The climax is reached on full Great and Pedal, before returning to the Vox humana, flutes, and finally the Swell strings.

This piece would be a striking Advent-Christmas piece. :-)

Please see the First Comment for the text.

The score and photos are attached below.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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