Herbert Howells' (1892-1983) contribution to the twentieth century organ repertoire is one of the most significant of any British composer. He was Herbert Brewer’s articled pupil at Gloucester Cathedral for two years before taking up a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in 1912. There he studied with, among others, Stanford, who described the young Howells as his “son in music”. Howells’ career as an organist was brief: he was forced by ill health to quit the post of sub-organist at Salisbury Cathedral in 1917. He later deputised for a conscripted Robin Orr at St. John’s College, Cambridge between 1941 and 1945.
He has remained the quintessential English church composer of the twentieth century.
"Cradle Song" was composed: "Lydney, Gloucestershire, 4th December, 1913". It is found in the "Organists Charitable Trusts Little Organ Book", published by Novello in 2010. This is the first time the work has appeared in print.
It is very typical of the "early style" of the composer, with some of Howells' carol anthems, composed around the same time. Pieces such as "Here is the little door" came to mind as I was playing this.
Howells had a strong connection with Salisbury in his early professional life, so, the choice to record this on the Salisbury Willis was an obvious one.
A photo of the young Herbert Howells is attached below.
I dedicate this upload to our member "rmdostie". It was Rick who made me aware of this publication.
More Christmas uploads are to follow, including a major set of variations on "Hark! the herald angels sing," a long-forgotten work by English composer, Charles Frost.
I wish everyone peace and all blessings of the season!