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Improvisation on "The King of Love"

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (03/14/21)
Composer: Fletcher, Percy Eastman
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Early 20th century
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.

Fletcher wrote a large number of suites for light orchestras, and many fine, now forgotten, orchestral works.

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."

Today is "Laetare Sunday", the fourth Sunday in the season of Lent, in the Western Christian liturgical calendar. Traditionally, this Sunday has been a day of celebration, within the austere period of Lent. This Sunday gets its name from the first few words of the traditional Latin entrance (Introit) for the Mass of the day. "Laetare Jerusalem" ("Rejoice, O Jerusalem").

"Improvisation on 'The King of Love'" is found in "Hymn-Tune Voluntaries Part IV", published by J. Curwen & Sons Ltd. in 1911.

The comforting image of Christ the Good Shepherd is often associated with this day, and Fletcher has used the once very popular hymn, "Dominus regit me" composed by John B. Dykes (1823-1876) for his theme. This tune has now largely been overshadowed by the very popular "St. Columba".

Fletcher sets the melody in an attractive, pastorale-like manner, and once again as in other pieces, you'll find some distinctive touches in this piece.

The score is attached below, as well as a photos of Percy Fletcher, John B. Dykes, and Henry Williams Baker (1821-1877), the author of the text are attached below.

The entire text is given in the First Comment.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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