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Elegiac Rhapsody (on an Old Church Melody), Op. 29

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (09/07/23)
Composer: Rootham, Cyril Bradley
Sample Producer: Milan Digital Audio
Sample Set: Salisbury Cathedral Father Willis
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Early 20th century
Cyril Bradley Rootham (1875 – 1938) was an English composer, educator and organist. His work at Cambridge University made him an influential figure in English music life. A Fellow of St John's College, where he was also organist, Rootham ran the Cambridge University Musical Society, whose innovative concert programming helped form English musical tastes of the time. Rootham's own compositions include two symphonies and several smaller orchestral pieces, an opera, chamber music, and many choral settings.

Rootham's first professional appointment was as organist of Christ Church, Hampstead, where in 1898 he succeeded the composer Walford Davies. This was followed by a brief period as organist at St Asaph Cathedral in north Wales in 1901. In the same year, Rootham was appointed organist at St John's College, Cambridge, a post he held until the end of his life.

Rootham died in 1938, aged sixty-two, while still at the height of his creative powers.

"Elegiac Rhapsody" was published by Stainer & Bell in 1922. It is dedicated: "To my friend George Dixon." George Dixon was a well-known organ designer who worked on many large organ projects, including those at Carlisle and Norwich cathedrals, several Cambridge colleges, and the Royal Albert Hall.

The "old church melody" upon which the work is based is "Iste Confessor" which is found in the "Poitiers Antiphoner" of 1746.

The work is grand and dramatic with a tremendous emotional sweep. The mood is essentially dark, and the writing itself is quite modern.

The score, like all of Rootham's organ scores, is imposing with it's many notes and seemingly "odd" touches, although I suppose it would be better to call these elements "individualistic."

If my strength will let me know, I hope to do Rootham's largest organ work, "Epinikion" in the near future.

The score is attached below, photos of Cyril Rootham during the stages of his life, and photos of St. Asaph's Cathedral and St. John's College, Cambridge are also below.
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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