James Kendrick Pyne (1852–1938) was born in Bath into a musical family. His father, also James Kendrick Pyne (1810–1893) was organist at Bath Abbey.
By the age of 11 he was organist at All Saints' Church, Bath. At the age of 12 his father sent him to study with Samuel Sebastian Wesley, organist at Winchester and later Gloucester Cathedral.
In 1873 he became organist at Chichester Cathedral. In 1874 he went to the United States to become organist at St. Mark's, Philadelphia. A year later Pyne returned to England to Manchester where he would become a leading figure in the musical life of the city. He became organist at Manchester Cathedral and later became organist for the City Corporation. In 1893 he was appointed professor of the organ at the Royal Manchester College of Music and became Dean of the Faculty of Music in 1908. He retired from work at the cathedral in 1908 but continued work at the college until 1926.
"Impromptu Elegiac" was published by Augener Limited in 1911. It is dedicated: "To my friend, M. Joseph Bonnet". This piece has an undeniable appeal to it, but it is without doubt one of the "oddest" organ works I have ever played.
It is "antique" in style, at least in the manner of the theme, and something of a sarabande, unwinding into a sort of set of variations.
The work has a very "Spanish feel" to it, and the harpish parts sound like the strum of a Flamenco guitar.
The "odd" aspect of it is in the conception and execution of the piece. I found it extremely difficult and frustrating, almost to the point of tears.
You'll need a big hand, needing to manage the extended "thumbing down" one of the variations, an Horowitzian technique to play a flying chromatic scale over the entire compass of the manual, and a creative spirit to try to bring it all together.
The score is attached below, as well as photos of Pyne, Bonnet (the dedicatee), and of All Saints, Bath, of Chichester and Manchester cathedrals, and of St. Mark's Church, Philadelphia