Percy Eastman Fletcher, was born in Derby on 12 December 1879 and died on 10 December 1932 at the early age of 52. He took lessons on violin, piano and organ, the former being his most important instrument. Like a number of his composer contemporaries, he made his living as a Musical Director in the London theater world, fulfilling this position successively at the Prince of Wales, Savoy, Daly's, Drury Lane and from, 1915 until his death, His Majesty's Theatre.
His creative activity was however by no means confined to the theater. There were ballads and songs, ad a considerable amount for chorus,as well as sacred works, "The Passion of Christ" (1922), one of the best of those sacred cantatas for small church choirs.
Fletcher wrote a large number of suites for light orchestras, and many fine, now forgotten, orchestral works.
Most of Fletcher's piano music was arranged from orchestral scores, but there are several fine works, originally for piano solo.
He also composed quite widely for organ. An Interlude of 1901 is probably his earliest dated publication, while later works include the two most famous of his organ works, both dating from 1915, "Festival Toccata" and the always exquisite, "Fountain Reverie."
"Postlude on 'St. Ann'" is found in "Hymn-Tune Voluntaries Part II", published by J. Curwen & Sons Ltd. in 1906.
It is a vigorous and quite varied setting of the famous hymn-tune "St. Ann(e)" composed by William Croft (1678-1727), and inseparably linked with Isaac Watts' (1674-1748)great text, "O God, our help in ages past."
Since Fletcher is not "burdened" by things such as the "cathedral tradition", his settings are all quite fresh, colorful, and even entertaining. Since he has written these for "optional pedals," a fair amount of "filling out" is required by the performer in order to achieve an effect like this one. :-)
The score, a photo of Percy Fletcher, and two paintings of William Croft are attached below.
MORE P. E. Fletcher to come!