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Prelude on "Pange lingua" (Four Meditations on Communion Hymns, No. 4)

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The Gió Riverside

Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (02/12/23)
Composer: Rowley, Alec
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Mid-20th Century
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, having 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 at that time, and Rowley was forced to leave his position.

"Four Meditations on Communion Hymns" were published by Edwin Ashdown Ltd. in 1956. They are dedicated: "To Douglas Gibbin."

These four miniatures are intended for liturgical usage. They are brief and concise, make their point nicely, and help to maintain the calm, meditative mood that one would expect and want during Holy Communion.

The fourth of the four takes the tune "Pange lingua", the famous 3rd mode melody as its subject. Liturgical use would properly be for the Maundy Thursday as well as the Feast of Corpus Christi, although it could certainly be used for an ordinary Holy Communion as well.

Rowley's setting sticks pretty much to the modal harmonies, devoid of his usual chromaticism, and the writing is quite mystical in the overall effect.

"Sing, my tongue, the Savior’s glory,
Of his flesh the myst'ry sing:
Of the Blood, all price exceeding,
Shed by our immortal King,
Destined for the world’s redemption,
From a noble womb to spring."

The score is attached below. Also included are the "now famous" series of photos of Alec Rowley, throughout the stages of his life.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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