Ethelbert Woodbridge Nevin (November 25, 1862 – February 17, 1901) was born on November 25, 1862, at Vineacre, on the banks of the Ohio River, in Edgeworth, Pennsylvania. There he spent the first sixteen years of his life, and received all his schooling, most of it from his father, Robert Peebles Nevin, editor and proprietor of a Pittsburgh newspaper. His mother, Elizabeth Duncan Oliphant, was a pianist. The first grand piano ever taken across the Allegheny Mountains was carted over for Nevin's mother. Other members of the Nevin family showed musical inclinations as well; Nevin's younger brother, Arthur, also achieved some renown as a composer, as did his cousins George and Gordon Balch Nevin.
From a young age, Nevin was musically inclined. He began playing the piano by the age of four, although he needed cushions piled on the pedals to enable him to reach them. Nevin's father provided for his son both vocal and instrumental instruction. He also took him abroad for two years of travel and music study in Dresden under Von Böhme. In 1878, he attended Western University, now known as the University of Pittsburgh, but left at the end of his freshman year in 1879. Later he studied the piano for two years at Boston, under Benjamin Johnson Lang, and composition under Stephen A. Emery.
In addition to composing, he taught piano and singing, but overwork and poor health led to his death.
"The Rosary" is one of his most famous songs, and this arrangement was done by Reginald Goss-Custard, organist of St. Margaret's, Westminster. It has one principle technical challenge - manipulating multiple swell pedals WHILE playing a double pedal part throughout. This means playing with your HEELS on the black notes, and "pushing and prying" the swell boxes! Give it a try! ;-)
I offer this in loving memory of my mother, Dorothy, who I recall singing this when I was a boy. It was the sort of thing loved...
The score is attached below, as well as photos of Nevin and Goss-Custard.