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Cradle Song (Ten Pieces, No. 2)

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (01/14/21)
Composer: Grace, Harvey
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Early 20th century
Harvey Grace (1874–1944) was an English organist and music writer. He was a chorister at Romsey Abbey, studied under Madeley Richardson at Southwark Cathedral, and became Organist of St. Mary Magdelene, Munster Square, London. He was editor of The Musical Times and a noted author and adjudicator. He was Organist and Master of the Choristers at Chichester Cathedral from 1931 until 1937. His years at Chichester coincided with a new awareness of liturgical solemnity; plainsong was used regularly at some of the weekday services from May 1936. Grace was appointed Commissioner of the School of English Church Music in 1937, and resigned at the end of the year. He joined the staff of Trinity College of Music in 1939, and also acted as Organist of East Grinstead Parish Church during World War II.

"Ten Compositions," which are in two volumes, were published by Schott & Co. in 1922. "Cradle Song" is the second piece in the collection, and is dedicated: "For Molly." It is highly expressive, and absolutely hypnotic.

This isn't the first time that I "tried" this piece!
Actually, it's probably the third. I don't know whether I "got it right" or not, but at least I was satisfied enough with the outcome to upload it, unlike my previous attempts.

The piece has a slow swing, which happens from the opening solo melody, right up until the final chord. In the middle section, there can be no doubt that birdsong is heard, but it's not birdsong like Messiaen, but is essential, and stands out in a unique way.

To me, this is the single most "striking" cradle song I have ever played or heard. I did my best to achieve the full expression it demands, but, it still isn't exactly what I wanted for the outcome.

If you're looking at the music, you'll see there is a final, soft, "thump" at the end. The effect on Salisbury did not work, as the upper note obscured the bass, so, the 32' Open just touches the release.

The score is attached below, as well as two photos of Harvey Grace.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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