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A Christmas Reverie

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (12/24/20)
Composer: Seely, John Gordon
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Early 20th century
John Gordon Seely (1872-1945) was an American organist and choirmaster.

He was a student of Peter C. Lutkin, and organist of St. Paul's Church, Akron, Ohio, and Trinity Church, Toldeo, Ohio.

A Christmas Reverie was published by the H. W. Gray Company in 1932, as "No. 554" as part of their large "The St. Cecilia series of Christmas music for organ".

It's quite a unique piece, which at first struck me as a "nothing," but after working it out, was "transformed" into quite a nice piece.

It opens with bells, played upon the Solo Glockenspiel.

The colors came out very nicely on the Hereford Willis. As always you'll need to be creative with your registrations, but the effect is excellent.

The central part of the work combines two famous carols: "It came upon the midnight clear" and "Silent night".

Seely uses the American tune for "It came upon the midnight clear", composed by Richard Storrs Willis (1819-1900) in 1850. Storrs had been a student of Felix Mendelssohn. The tune is named "Carol".

The "combination" of the two melodies requires some "thumbing down" in order to play the two tunes on two separate manuals but with one hand. This one requires some VERY big stretches, and I was just barely able to get them, but I could not maintain a perfect legato because of the reach.

All-in-all, I really like this piece, and I hope this meditation/reverie will speak to you on this Christmas Eve.

The score is attached below. A photo of John Gordon Seely is attached below, as well as one of Richard Storrs Willis, the composer of the hymn. Also attached are photos of St. Paul's Church, Akron, and Trinity Church, Toledo, both places where Seely served as organist. A painting of the "The Angel appearing to the Shepherds" by Rembrandt, is also included.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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