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 forced to leave his position.
"Heroic Suite" was published in 1921 by Edwin Ashdown, Ltd. It consists of four movements, and dedicated to musicians who had a close association with Rowley.
"Four Seasonal Improvisations" were published by Hinrichsen in 1948. The first, "Winchester New" is for Advent, the great and famous tune generally being associated with the text, "On Jordan's bank, the Baptist's cry announces that the Lord is nigh."
The work is dedicated: "To Dale Young." I searched for information about him, but while I'm sure I've heard his name, I couldn't find any information about him.
This piece is marked "Allegretto" and in 12/8 time. It features "marching-flowing" continuous staccato triplets in the pedal, while the chorale rides above in an hymn-like manner. Interspersed are quiet interludes, which are more chromatic, and give a sense of mysticism to the atmosphere. There is a sense of joyful, but quiet anticipation throughout.
The score is attached below, as well as THE photos of the composer.
With the upload of this work, there is now ONLY the great "Sonata in A Minor" left to do in order to complete the "Rowley Riot!"