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.
This work is taken from the composer's "Chorale Preludes on Famous Hymn Tunes, Volume Two." These pieces cover Easter and Ascensiontide.
This prelude is based on the same hymn melody as the full hymn that I just uploaded, "St. Magnus" - "The head that once was crowned with thorns."
I think I've played almost all of the Rowley hymn preludes. There are still a few to go... ;-)
However, this one, has got to be one of the wildest of the bunch! Right from the opening, you'll hear the piece modulating. I think it modulates 4 times in the first phrase, and just keeps going from there!
It's an impassioned setting, which using many techiques and styles. What makes it so difficult, other than the endless registration changes, is that all of Rowley's "ideas" as quick to change. They no sooner start before is going in another key and another direction.
I had a hard choice selecting between Hereford and Salisbury, but I think I made the right choice.
By the way, notice the amazing final cadence with the "hanging leading tone". It's a very satisfying moment when it finally resolves!
The score is attached below, as well as the now famous photo of Rowley.
There is STILL more "Rowley Riot" to come! :-)