Even if one were not besotted with the music itself, who could resist at least a modicum of curiosity about a composer whose works list includes such intriguing titles as Thy Tu-Whits are Lulled, A Croon, Grace for a Fresh Egg, Boult's Brangill, Sarabande for the Twelfth Day of Any October, or Foss' Dump? 1 All of these enigmatically titled pieces are, of course, by Herbert Norman Howells (1892–1983), a composer who, while offering an eightieth birthday toast to his longtime friend Ralph Vaughan Williams, described himself as “one and three-quarter inches taller than Beethoven, and a jolly sight older than Mozart, [yet] still only a very humble member of the musical profession.” 2 A distinguished composer whose early training as an organist formed his aesthetic, Howells wrote for the organ throughout his career. His first works stand in the full-fledged Anglo-Germanic tradition of Elgar, Parry, and Stanford, but they soon embraced the Gallic elegance of Impressionistic harmonies—Howells's middle name is worth noting in this respect—with flexible rhythms and a free modality influenced both by the English folksong movement and sixteenth-century Tudor music. 3 While most other major British mid-twentieth-century composers considered the organ primarily as an instrument for the accompaniment of sacred choral music, Howells contributed a sizeable number of solo works. Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872– 1958) composed Three Preludes on Welsh Hymn Tunes in 1920, and the second of these, Rhosymedre, remains a staple of the church organist's repertoire, but there is not much else for organ in his large catalogue. Gustav Holst (1874–1934) wrote no organ music at all. Both Benjamin Britten (1913–76) and Michael Tippett (1905–98) contributed only one short organ composition, each serving as introduction to an existing work by an historic continental composer. 4