Desmond Ratcliffe’s (1917-2001) first music teacher was his father William Ratcliffe who was a composer and organist at St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge, London. The young boy used to go to the church with his father to hear him practise and sometimes Queen Mary would wander into the back of the church to listen. He learnt the piano and organ and after the early death of his father became a chorister at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, where he started to compose. He went on to be educated at Kingston Grammar School and was organist at a local church in Twickenham. He gained entrance to the Royal Academy of Music to study composition. Unfortunately the Second World War interrupted his studies when he had to go into the Army. When the war ended he took up his studies again at the Academy gaining many prizes. He went to work at Novello & Co Ltd in the Reader’s Room under the eye of Walter Emery the leading Bach scholar of his time. He was trained by Emery to become an excellent proof reader and music editor while he continued to compose choral and organ music and make many arrangements.
As I was doing these, they seemed sort of "familiar" to me, and, I guess that's because I did them before, way back in 2016, and on Salisbury: https://www.contrebombarde.com/concerthall/music/21683
What does this say that I don't have actual recollection of doing them?!?
"Three Pieces, Set I" were published by Novello in 1952.
The "Prelude" in a flowing G major is marked "Andante" and features a very pastoral nature. There are some very nice harmonic turns, and a perfectly judged climax in the middle.
When I did these previously, I said that I thought that there were similarities to the music of Alec Rowley, and I still think that's a good "comparison".
Sorry about the repetition of these pieces, but I'm hoping that this will reveal this fine music to new listeners.
A photo of Desmond Ratcliffe is attached below.