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Novellette (La Maison Grise) (Novella - The Gray House)

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (01/30/22)
Composer: James, Philip
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Mid-20th Century
Philip James (1890 – 1975) was an American composer, conductor and music educator.

James was born in Jersey City, New Jersey. At an early age he began piano, violin and theory lessons, and served as choirboy in several New Jersey churches. From 1904 to 1909 he studied organ with J. Warren Andrews and in 1907 began advanced harmony and counterpoint lessons with Homer Norris. He also studied composition with Rubin Goldmark, Elliott Schenck, and Rosario Scalero, as well as organ with Joseph Bonnet and Alexandre Guilmant in Paris.

In World War I James played in and subsequently became bandleader of the American Expeditionary Forces Headquarters Band.

In 1922 he co-founded and became the first conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and in 1923, began a long teaching career at New York University, serving as head of the music department from 1934-1956.

Though he remained active as a composer until his death in 1975, James' larger-scale compositions were infrequently played after the mid-twentieth century. However several of his early sacred compositions, including "Meditation a Ste. Clotilde" for organ and the anthem "By the Waters of Babylon" remain in the sacred repertoire.

His first important job was at St. John's Episcopal Church, only about a mile away. In its day, it was one of the most important Episcopal churches in the Diocese of Newark, but now, though a National Landmark, it is collapsing and abandoned.

"Novellette" (La Maison Grise) (Novella - The Gray House) was published by H.W. Gray in 1947 as No. 732 in their "St. Cecilia Series".

I don't really know "what this is about," but it is in the most delightful mood of French impressionism. The sound of bells, and perhaps a mill or spinning wheel must surely be part of the soundscape here.

The composer's son suggests that the "letters" inscribed above the theme are for the publisher, H. W. Gray.

Several photos of Philip James some of St. John's Church in Jersey City are attached below.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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