Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) did not have a large output for solo organ, and he is not known for his keyboard works in general. But he was certainly familiar with the organ from his many choral works (oratorios, motets, etc.) where he used it in a largely accompanimental role. These preludes belie his keyboard reputation: he demonstrates here his mastery of the organ, producing three worthwhile compositions that make the listener regret that he did not compose more for the instrument.
"Rhosymedre", the 2nd of the group is by far the most popular of the three. It is a reserved work of great serenity and beauty. Marked Andantino, and is based upon the tune by J.D. Edwards (1805 - 1885).
While the music in all three preludes certainly has a style of its own, uniquely recognizable as the work of Vaughan Williams, it also has strains of Bach's preludes. "Rhosymedre," for example, recalls the serene mood of Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring."
Since I play this piece at almost every wedding, I forced myself to play it here in a "straightforward" manner, without any excesses, and following the registrations that the composer gave. I did allow myself the luxury of playing the last section on the Swell strings, adding the 32' Open for the last note... ;-)
I'll also post the "comparitive version" done at Salisbury.
As I've said before, people seem to like the comparisons, and I hope the idea of doing the same piece twice isn't wearing thin or becoming tedious!