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, have 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, and Rowley was ostracized by the parish clergy, and was forced to leave his position.
Rowley, who had always been devout was devastated by their treatment of him, and it ended his "participation" in organized religion. It also essentially ended his playing the organ, and it seems that many of his later organ pieces were probably NEVER actually played by him.
"Festival March" was published by Joseph Williams Limited in 1946. It is marked "Allegro ma molto maestoso," and this is the "way" I tried to play it.
The opening fanfare is heard on the Great Trumpet and not the Solo tuba.
The entire piece is a grand, almost "Elgarian" swing and urge to it. The writing is unmistakably Rowley, but there is, at least to my ears, and "older" feel to the piece. Perhaps it is this that gives it a special sense of grand nobility.
The score is attached below, as well as a number of photographs of Alec Rowley.
With the Rowley Riot (which is NOT finished yet!) having played such an important part in my own discovery of his music, I felt it appropriate to use this for Upload 2000!
I give SINCERE THANKS & APPRECIATION to ALL listeners and commenters!
Peace to All!