Alec Rowley was born in London on 13 March 1892, teacher, composer, organist, pianist, lecturer and writer, who studied at the RAM with Frederick Corder and where he won sundry scholarships and prizes. He was an organist at several London churches including, during the Second World War, St Margaret's, Westminster. He died on 11 January 1958 while playing tennis.
Rowley was a superb teacher, who did much to assist the student. Unfortunately, this labeled him as a "writer of children's music" in the eyes of some.
He was a fine organist, have gained his FRCO by the time he was 16. His largest organist position was at St. Alban's, Teddington, a large and important church. It was during his time at this church that Rowley married and then divorced. Divorce for someone working in the church was not tolerated, and Rowley was forced to leave his position.
I THOUGHT that I had recorded and upload the COMPLETE organ works of Rowley, however, it turns out that there are still a few that I need to do. So, this is the first of the remainder...
"Mary's Song" is the first piece in "Three Scenes from the Boyhood of Christ." Published in 1953 by Novello & Company Limited, these pieces were originally written for orchestra, but were arranged for the organ by the composer.
The "Magnificat" is often referred to as "the song of Mary," and that must surely be the case in this instance.
The work is lyrical, yet searching. The fact that phrases are short make it essential that the performance sound flowing and not chopped up into little bits. The harmonic language is immediately apparent as coming from the hand of Rowley, but any regular listener of his music will readily identify this as a late work.
After the holidays are over, I'll complete the other two works in this set, as well as the other pieces necessary to complete the completion. :-)
For now, this is a fine work for the late Advent season.
The score is attached below, as well as numerous photos of Alec Rowley.