While Darke composed extensively for Choir and Organ, he wrote many fewer works for solo Organ. The first of the set, St Peter, dedicated to Herbert Howells, is the best known of the three, atmospheric and improvisational and Orchestral in style. The second prelude, a fantasia on Darwell’s 148th, is a virtuosic piece that retains its musical integrity. The final, on a theme by Tallis, begins by tranquilly setting out its theme before moving into romantic, Orchestral style.
Harold E. Darke was an English composer and Organist of international renown. In 1916, he established the Monday lunchtime Organ recitals at St Michael’s Cornhill which continue to this day, the longest-running such series in the world. His setting of Christina Rosetti’s poem In the Bleak Midwinter created a melody and lilting Organ accompaniment that have never fallen from favour. It is regarded as one of the greatest Christmas carols and is still sung at the service of Nine Lessons and Carols.