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.
Today is the 4th Sunday in Lent - Good Shepherd Sunday, so, let's have another "Good Shepherd Hymn!"
Jessie Seymour Irvine (1836 – 1887) was the daughter of a Church of Scotland parish minister. She wrote a number of hymn tunes, her most famous tune is "Crimond," which is best known as one of the most popular settings for the (paraphrased) words of Psalm 23. It is believed that she wrote the tune while still in her teens, as an exercise for an organ class she was attending.
Irvine is buried in St. Machar's Cathedral in Aberdeen.
The text written by Francis Rous (Rouse) (1579-1659). He was educated at Oxford, and adopted the legal profession. He became a member of Parliament, a member of the Westminster Assembly; of the High Commission; and of the Triers for examining and licensing candidates for the ministry. He was a "Cromwell man," and held other appointments under Cromwell, including Provost of Eton College, and is buried in the Chapel of Eton College.
The highly chromatic setting comes from the 4th volume of Rowley's "Chorale Preludes on Famous Hymn Tunes," and was published in 1951. It is marked "Moderato espressivo," but it's actually VERY "espressivo" in style! I did several takes, each time, "tightening it up a bit" as I felt I was a little "too free" the first few times.
The rich colors of Salisbury are perfect for this, and I think the effect is very good.
The score is attached below, as well as THE photo of Rowley, and paintings of Irvine, Rous, and St. Machar's Cathedral, Aberdeen.