John Speller's Web Pages Lift up your heads, O ye gates (Emma Louise Ashford)

John Speller's Web Pages - Ascension

Lift up your heads, O ye gates (Emma Louise Ashford)
Emma Louise Hindle was born into a musical family in Newark, Delaware in 1850. Her family was constantly moving around and at the age of twelve she became the organist of the Episcopal Church in Kewanee, Illinois. At the age of fourteen she was organist of the Episcopal Church in Seymour, Connecticut. At the age of seventeen she married John Ashford, an engineer from Bath, England. They moved first to live in Chicago, where Mrs. Ashford was a soloist in Dudley Buck's choir at St. James Episcopal Church. They later moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where John Ashford was for several decades a faculty member at Vanderbilt University. Mrs. Ashford was a prominent part of the musical life of Vanderbilt University, as well as organist of a number of Nashville churches including Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral. Many of her organ compositions appeared between 1898 and 1920 in the bi-monthly periodical The Organist of which she was editor. She died in Nashville in 1930.

This is a somewhat monumental anthem, but the keyboard compass is rather puzzling, implying a G-compass organ, since a pedal part is clearly specified, and the keyboard part extends down to GGG. At Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville there was a new electro-pneumatic action Farrand & Votey organ, and nowhere else Mrs. Ashford was seems to have had a G-compass organ, except Trinity Episcopal Church, Seymour, Connecticut, which had an 1831 instrument by the New Haven organ builder Franklin S. Whiting. However, Mrs. Ashford's anthem suggests a more complete choir than Trinity Church is likely to have possessed. The notes below low C might be played with 16 ft. stops on the pedal.

The last section of the anthem, in A major, is of course an arrangement of Oliver Holden's tune, "Coronation".

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Trinity Episcopal Church, Seymour, Connecticut, built 1817
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