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.
Rowley was a superb teacher, who did much to assist the student. Unfortunately, this labeled him as a "writer of children's music" in the eyes of some.
In working towards the ultimate conclusion of the complete organ works of Alec Rowley, I discovered that I had not done this collection, "A Book of Voluntaries" published by Edwin Ashdown Limited in 1953. At first I thought, "Well, this will probably be a very boring book of easy sight-readers!." but I was very wrong.
The music is excellent, and shows the many sides and styles of Rowley to perfection! I'm sorry I missed this group before, but glad I found it now!
The second piece, "After a Service" (Concluding Voluntary) is really a fine and vigorous piece. Again, modulations are plentiful, but everything is appealing and makes perfect sense. The rhythmic drive is wonderful, and the "uneven" phrases really show Rowley's skill at avoiding the "obvious" in his pieces.
In order to manage the registration as I did, I pushed 23 pistons in the course of the 4 pages. I mention this to show just how many registrational changes are necessary to get this sort of soundscape.
The score is attached below, as well as a MIDI file, and a photo of Alec Rowley.
Several people have asked for registration suggestions in playing this organ, and now you can see my registrations and how I used the instrument.
I will soon be reviewing this fine sample set for The Barde.
Rowley works still to do are:
Sonata in A Minor
Prelude on "Winchester New"