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Marche Héroïque

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Uploaded by: Agnus_Dei (04/21/21)
Composer: Watling, Horace F.
Sample Producer: Lavender Audio
Sample Set: Hereford Cathedral Willis Organ
Software: Hauptwerk IV
Genre: Early 20th century
Horace Frank Watling (1882-1959), a blind organist, was a pupil, and subsequently professor at the Royal Normal College for the Blind in Upper Norwood.

He was an organ student of H. L. Balfour, and won in a competition for a "devotional voluntary", and was a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.

"Marche Héroïque" was published by Ryalls & Jones Ltd. in 1921. This publisher included the works of blind composers in their catalog, and this works was also available in a braille edition.

It was: "Composed for Mr. Alfred Hollins' recital at the opening of the Grand Organ, Johannesburg Town Hall."

If you've already listened to "Minuet Antique", you may find it hard to believe that they are by the same composer, and published in the same year!

"Marche Héroïque" is without a doubt, one of the wildest marches I've heard or played! It is intensely chromatic, with many, many accidentals to deal with.

It is essentially in A-B-A form, with an added extended Coda.

The main section is a brilliant and demanding march, featuring octaves, double pedal and some extravagant but effective passages.

The central section is "meno mosso," and is in someways the most complicated part of the piece. I've tried to follow the composer's ideas on registration, at least in general terms. Since he calls for things like "glockenspiel," I've also "orchestrated it" a bit.

The opening material returns, literal at first, and then expanding further and further. The extended coda features a section that sounds like it could be the score of a Hollywood spectacular, culminating in a long pedal trill in octaves, alternating chords, and a final unison.

It's a wild piece to be sure, but I admit that I really liked it!

The score, courtesy of Dr. John Henderson, is attached below, but I have no photos of Horace Watling to share. I did include a photo of Alfred Hollins, the famous blind dedicatee of the piece.

These scores are VERY rare, and you are unlikely to see them again!
Performance: Live
Recorded in: Stereo
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