Lester H. Groom (1929–2000) was born in Chicago and received his early
keyboard training from both his mother and father. His father later became his major professor in organ and composition at Wheaton College (Illinois), where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in 1951. He earned the Master of Music degree in organ performance from Northwestern University in 1952. Groom held teaching positions at Moody Bible
Institute (Chicago), Blue Mountain College (Mississippi), and Baker University (Kansas). He joined the faculty of Seattle Pacific University in 1969, where he taught organ, harpsichord, music theory, and
composition. He retired from SPU in 1991 and was named Professor Emeritus the following year. Throughout his career, he held positions as church organist and choir director. He served as organist of First
Presbyterian Church, Seattle from 1979 until his retirement in 1996.
Groom's published works include organ and choral compositions, articles, and music reviews. He was a specialist in the art of organ improvisation and was a frequent lecturer at church music workshops and for thirteen summers he served on the faculty of the Evergreen Conference School of Church Music (Colorado).
I found this piece to be very creative and interesting. For one thing, I think this is the ONLY prelude that I've ever heard written on Gustav Holst's wonderful tune, "Cranham" (In the bleak mid-winter.) However, there's more to it, as Groom combines this with "Angels, we have heard on high," and also (I THINK!) a little bit of Yon's "Gesu, bambino."
The effect, IF you can make it work, is really quite special, but it's not easy to "get it just right," but satisfying, if you can get it together, and still keep it "loose."
This work is part of an upcoming collection of selected works by Lester Groom, soon to be published by Lorenz.
I will be uploading the Christmas works from the group over the next few weeks, and also recording the other works in January.