Wolstenholme was born in Blackburn, Lancashire on 24 February 1865. He was blind from birth and was was educated at the Worcester College for the Blind Sons of Gentlemen. He showed considerable promise as a musician and impressed Henry Smart who agreed to take him as a pupil. Alas, Smart died before lessons began. He studied the violin under Edward Elgar. In 1887 he went up to Oxford University where he later graduated as a Bachelor of Music.
In 1888 he was appointed organist and choirmaster of St Paul’s Church, Blackburn and began to consolidate his position as a teacher, recitalist and improviser. Fourteen years later he accepted the post of organist at All Saint’s Church Norfolk Square, Paddington and afterwards at All Saints, St. John’s Wood. In 1908 he undertook a major concert tour of the United States. This secured his ‘international’ reputation. William Wolstenholme died in 1931.
Stylistically, he has been referred to as the ‘English Cesar Franck’ and although this may be unfair to both composers it is a reasonable rule of thumb and gives the listener a good idea of the kind and quality of music to expect. It is also possible that he can be bracketed with Alfred Hollins and Basil Harwood.
Despite the fact that this is a "popular style" and something of a trifle, I like this work very much!
"Lied" has a sunny brightness to it, and reminds me of the music of Alfred Hollins, another great blind organist. The sudden shift from G to E-flat major feels like an unexpected breeze!
Both of these great musicians, blind though they were, must have "seen" LOTS of sunlight, and it really shows in their music!
I'm not entirely happy with registration. The pedal sounds heavy in spots. It also did on the Salisbury recording which I haven't posted.
My hearing problems of late "robbed" me of the bass. Now that I'm hearing "correctly" (I think!), I may have overdone the lower end... ;-)
At any rate, I hope you will enjoy this!