Charles Wood (1866-1926) was born in Armagh, Ireland. He was a treble chorister in the choir of St. Patrick's Cathedral (Church of Ireland). He received his early education at the Cathedral Choir School and also studied organ with two Organists and Masters of the Boys of Armagh Cathedral, Robert Turle and Dr Thomas Marks. In 1883 he entered the Royal College of Music, studying composition with C. V. Stanford & C. H. H. Parry. In 1889 he attained a teaching position at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, first as organ scholar and then as fellow in 1894, becoming the first Director of Music and Organist. After Stanford died, Wood assumed his mentor's vacant role as University of Cambridge Professor of Music in 1924. Wood is chiefly remembered for his Anglican church music. His anthems with organ, "Expectans expectavi", and "O Thou, the Central Orb" are both frequently performed, as are his unaccompanied anthems "T'is the day of Resurrection", "Glory and Honour" and, most popular of all, "Hail, gladdening light". All Wood's a cappella music demonstrates fastidious craftsmanship and a supreme mastery of the genre. His pupils included Ralph Vaughan Williams at Cambridge and Herbert Howells at the Royal College of Music.
The "Three Preludes on Melodies from the Genevan Psalter" were published in 1908, and all reflect the texts on which the melodies are based.
No, 1 - Psalm xii (Psalm 12) is marked poco Allegretto and has a troubled mood -
"Help me, Lord, for there is not one godly man left". Mendelssohn's "Sixth Sonata" will come IMMEDIATELY to mind upon listening!
The Swell 8's provide the accompaniment, with a tricky, often pizzicato bass in the pedals, which I coupled to the Choir Dulciana, which adds to the "string bass" effect. The melody is played on the Solo Clarinet with tremulant in the tenor register.