The Canadian Encyclopedia says this about the "early" organ works of Healey Willan (1880-1968): With the music for organ one enters a different world. Here Willan was thoroughly at home and made a significant and lasting contribution. One work stands out: the monumental "Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue" of 1916. The Preludes and Fugues in C minor and B minor and the "Epilogue" are the other major works from this period. While not exploring the possibilities of the instrument as searchingly as his masterpiece, they are idiomatic and very typical of their time. They combine an innate Englishness (with a Stanfordian flavour) and a European chromaticism that can be found in Reger and Karg-Elert.
Born in England, Willan became organist-choirmaster of Toronto's largest church, St. Paul's, Bloor Street, but it was his royalties as a composer which allowed him to leave "low church" St. Paul's in 1921 and to become Precentor of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Toronto).
The "36 Short Preludes and Postludes on Well-Known Hymn Tunes" are available in 3 sets (12 hymns to a set), and were published by C. F. Peters in 1960. They represent Willan very well in terms of quality and variety. The difficulty varies from piece to piece. The represent some of the composer's final works.
In this collaboration Agnus_Dei and Erzahler will be uploading 2 sets of 3 pieces (combined) until we work our way through the entire 36 pieces.