• Herbert Howells
  • Three Psalm Preludes Set 1 (1916)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • Organ
  • 25 min

Programme Note

Herbert Howells: Three Psalm-Preludes, Set 1 No. 1

The first set of Three Psalm-Preludes, Op. 32, was published in 1921. Dating from 1915 the first is inscribed to Sir Walter Parratt, and is a musical commentary or meditation on Psalm 34, verse 6: This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The piece unfolds Lento, poco appenato in a modal D minor, but its conjunct, wandering melodic line with its frequent accented passing-notes strays in its agitation to flatter and sharpen regions. After a half-remembered echo of a moving motif from the slow movement of Elgar's First Symphony, the music grows in volume and urgency till over a pedal C it reaches a central climax. This gradually subsides, and the Elgarian chords are heard again before trouble and supplication are finally resolved in a hushed chord of D major.

© 1977 Felix Aprahamian