The American organist and composer, Richard Keys Biggs (16 September 1886 — 17 December 1962) received an Hon.Mus.D from Loyola University in Chicago. He studied in London with Sir Richard Runciman Terry, the founder of the Choir and Choir School at Westminster Cathedral (Roman Catholic) in London.
He worked in Southern California, and was organist of the San Diego Exposition, as well as of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach, as well as several other churches in Canada and in Brooklyn, New York. In all these churches, he either founded or directed choirs of men and boys, so, that "elevates" him, at least in my eyes... ;-). In the 1940’s he was director of the men's and boy's choirs of the new church and parochial school at Blessed Sacrament in Hollywood, so, this is where he was working when he composed "American Hymn."
For years I've seen his name, but never bothered to look at his music. He is NOT related to the famous concert organist, E. Power Biggs!
"Religious Suite" was published by McLaughlin & Reilly Co. in 1942. It consists of five movements, each to be uploaded separately.
I realize that the current "best" way of uploading multiple movement in the Concert Hall is to join them, an arrangement that I agree with and use. However, these pieces do not "belong" together, and work best as stand alone items.
These pieces are intended to serves as "liturgical action music" for the parts of the Catholic Mass.
"Offertory" is the most complex movement of the suite. Certainly it is also the most "creative," as it takes the famous melody though a lot of atmosphere and impressionistic moments, sort of like incense rising. LOTS of button pushing in this one!
I dedicate all of these pieces to our member, "Park". Steve is a nice guy and has become a good friend, so, Steve, I hope you like these!
Steve is ALSO organist at one of the churches that Biggs served in Ca!
The score is attached below, as well as an autographed photo of Richard Keys Big