The Canadian Encyclopedia says this about the "early" organ works of Healey Willan (1880-1968): With the music for organ one enters a different world. Here Willan was thoroughly at home and made a significant and lasting contribution. One work stands out: the monumental "Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue" of 1916. The Preludes and Fugues in C minor and B minor and the "Epilogue" are the other major works from this period. While not exploring the possibilities of the instrument as searchingly as his masterpiece, they are idiomatic and very typical of their time. They combine an innate Englishness (with a Stanfordian flavour) and a European chromaticism that can be found in Reger and Karg-Elert.
Born in England, Willan became organist-choirmaster of Toronto's largest church, St. Paul's, Bloor Street, but it was his royalties as a composer which allowed him to leave "low church" St. Paul's in 1921 and to become Precentor of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene (Toronto).
The tune, "Windsor" is found in "Este's Psalter" of 1592, but the "modern rhythm" used by Willan dates from the version in the "Scottish Psalter" of 1615. This prelude is found in the third set of "10 Hymn Preludes," published by C. F. Peters in 1958.
This work features and interplay between the Stopped Diapason of the Great and the Swell strings. In several spots, the Great Gamba is heard, as is the Swell Chimney Flute.
While some "adaptions" are necessary (since the organ has only 2 manuals), the effect is still expressive and very good.
The score is attached below, as well as several photos of Healey Willan, and one of the interior and organ of the Church of St. Mary-le-Bow, London.
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