Vox Humana, English Suite, Beethoven’s Ruin, and Drdla’s Souvenir

Greetings! At this time, the snow and ice in Charlotte are retreating; they say that when the melting is this slow, the remaining snow is simply waiting around for the next batch. February’s selection represents wide variety in styles and periods, and I hope you find something you’d like to play.

1. OFFERTOIRE FOR VOX HUMANA, by Eugene Thayer. Thayer wrote this one for his friend, F A Stearns, who published “A Collection of Original Pieces for the Organ, for Church or Concert use” and was commissioned to contribute this piece. John Apple writes that the specific stop in the title was indicated due Thayer’s familiarity with the beautiful Vox Humana on the great organ in the Boston Music Hall which now resides in Methuen. Thayer’s love of the sound of this Vox can be seen in two of his collections, his First and Second Settings of offertoires. 1864; 1870. You may also be interested in some of the other seven pieces from this collection including two by George Morgan.

2. SCENES IN NORTHUMBERLAND, by Frederic H Wood. If you don’t know the “Scenes” suites by Wood, you have a treat in store. This one is his second suite and describes four places in Northumberland. You can play them separately or together as a full suite. I have already restored his fourth and last suite, Scenes on the Downs.

3. TURKISH MARCH FROM “THE RUINS OF ATHENS,” by Beethoven, arranged by Clarence Dickinson and Charlotte Lockwood. Their fun duet for four hands is an arrangement of the entire Turkish March from Beethoven’s incidental music from the play. It’s not long and is a great encore for an duo.

4. SOUVENIR, by Franz Drdla, arranged by Quentin Maclean. I got this from Lew Williams who recommended Maclean’s arrangement. John Apple compared multiple versions and agreed that Maclean’s was the best. I am pleased to present Thomas Brown’s article from The Canadian Encyclopedia on Maclean telling the story of his life. An English theatre and radio organist, he emigrated to Canada in 1939 to perform and teach in Toronto. I offer two recordings of Drdla’s original music for violin and piano.

MONTHLY DISCOUNT BUNDLE. To get the four pieces mentioned above, I offer a special price so you can buy all of the pieces above with one click and save money in the deal. I welcome your support, and if you don’t want to play a particular piece in the group, consider giving it to a student or another organist.

I have received a better price structure for 2016 on shipments going outside of the USA, so I have reprogrammed these lower prices into the shopping cart. This means at least a US$2.00 reduction for all of you who receive international shipments. Unlike some companies, MMS has always shipped worldwide without a large surcharge; we love all organists, worldwide!

Thank you for your interest in this music. As you have seen, your suggestions do make a difference, and I hope that I offer the music that you want to play.


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Giving Young People A Chance To Play An Organ

Youngsters Try Out Town Hall Organ

Giving young musicians a chance to play a large organ can stimulate the interest to continue training in the organ field. Organizations and individuals should take it upon themselves to make this happen regularly. An organist should not wait for a young person to ask them if they could play. They should make the offer themselves! This chance to play might be just the spark that a piano student needs to become an organ student.

The next generation of budding organists was given a chance to play Dunedin Town Hall’s grand old organ Norma at the weekend.The children attended the workshop ‘‘Pulling out all the stops” on Saturday, as part of the Australia and New Zealand College of Organists Academy, which was held in Dunedin. Academy director and St Paul’s Cathedral organist George Chittenden said the workshop was about encouraging children to be interested in organ music.

Norma was one of the biggest organs in the country and as a town hall organ had ‘‘interesting and exciting effects” that would not be found on a church organ. ‘‘It’s a really impressive instrument and they wouldn’t normally have a chance to play it.”

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How the Hammond Changed Gospel Music

Hammond Organ Laid The Tracks For Gospel’s Hit Train

I would like to draw your attention to this radio report from Anne Ford on National Public Radio. It describes how Black Churches were heavy consumers of that great Hammond Organ sound. Laurens Hammond’s invention in 1935 immediately appealed to Thomas “Fats” Waller, an organist, who bought one of the first. Gospel music, live and recorded, quickly adopted the Hammond as one of its essential instruments. Many performers today still rely on its sound.

One thing today is difficult to make clear to the general public. The Hammond was not an electronic organ; it was an electric organ. It used tone wheels spun by electric motors. The Allen Company introduced the first electronic, through the use of vacuum tubes, in 1939. Later, the means of tone generation changed but the key is the origin of the tone — mechanical or electronic.

The sound of the Hammond organ was invented for churches as an alternative to pipe organs. But it’s distinctive sound became crucial to the development of a new kind of music: gospel. If you know organs, the sound of the Hammond is instantly recognizable.

In the 80 years since the Hammond organ hit the assembly line, it has made its way into rock, pop, R and B and jazz. But as Anne Ford reports, there was a time when, in order to hear a Hammond organ, you had to go to church. Anne Ford: “Long before Booker T. and the M.G.s came along, the Hammond organ was created to be a smaller, cheaper alternative to the sonorous behemoths you hear in churches – pipe organs.”

For more information, see Glen Nelson’s article on the Hammond.

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Most Reverend Hopes Offers Blessing for Organ

Sweet Music as Cromer Church Organ Blessed

I don’t know of as many blessings given for electronic organs as for pipe organs, but the purpose and effect is surely the same. Has anyone information on Welwyn, the manufacturer? I’ve not heard of them. Oh, and have you ever heard a better name for a bishop than “Hopes”?

The Bishop of East Anglia, the Most Rev Alan Hopes, told a packed congregation at Our Lady of Refuge Church in Overstrand Road, Cromer, that music was an “integral and important part of worship”, when he visited to bless a new organ. In his first trip to the seaside town, Bishop Hopes led a special service celebrating the installation of the state-of-the-art electronic ‘Eminent’ organ, designed and voiced especially for the church.

Choirmaster Paul Henriksen said the new instrument, which was built by Welwyn Garden City company Cathedral Organs, would be of great benefit to the church, adding: “Because sound is transmitted through five channels of sound and 17 speakers, it is virtually indistinguishable from a pipe organ.”

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They Are All Playing Pieces that I Love Dearly

22nd Annual Robert and Joyce Jones Organ Conference

You will enjoy reading about this outstanding annual conference. The article contains detailed information on what is going on and who is playing during this great Baylor tradition.

The 22nd Annual Robert and Joyce Jones Midwinter Organ Conference will take place from Sunday, Jan. 24, to Tuesday, Jan. 26, in various performance halls around campus. This year’s conference honors German composer Max Reger on the centennial of his death and includes six organ concerts, lectures and workshops.

On Sunday, Jan. 24, the conference will begin with a concert by three of Demers’ students. Sam Eatherton, Mitchell Won and Jillian Gardner will perform a selection of pieces at 4 p.m. in the Jones Concert Hall of the Glennis McCrary Music Building. “It’s always very rewarding to hear our students perform,” Demers said. “They are all playing pieces that I love dearly, so it is an opportunity to hear music I really enjoy without having to put in so many hours in the practice room.”

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A New Concert Series Is A Great Beginning

New Music Director Knows Key to Organ Concert Success

What a nice story about a newly-hired organist! One of the goals of any good organist should be to start or continue a concert series. Bravo, Karissa!

With the ink still wet on her undergraduate degree in organ performance and church music from Concordia University in Irvine, Karissa Lystrup, 24, arrived at the church in July to provide organ music for the traditional service, direct the adult choir, and teach music at the church school. Now Lystrup has added to her duties production of a concert series, beginning Friday. The event will feature music for the organ.

“This church has been used a lot for concerts by the (American Guild of Organists),” Lystrup said. “One of my goals for this concert series would be to have an annual organ concert.”

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Is There Any Barckhoff Left?

Historic Pipe Organ Makes Comeback

And sometimes a “comeback” is impossible. The console above doesn’t remind one of an 1890 Barckhoff. I wonder how much of the pipes and chests are original. Perhaps someone has a recording? Bob Moody will be able to tell us.

Sometimes a musical instrument has its own story to tell. The pipe organ at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Waynesboro was built in the 1890s by the Carl Barckhoff Organ Company. The organ was subsequently moved into the church’s present location in 1959 and rebuilt at that time by Mark Wetzel. The original instrument and the 1959 version contained substantial numbers of components manufactured by Klann Organ Supply, located in the Basic City section of Waynesboro.

Today, the organ has undergone a complete overhaul by organ builder and technician D. K. Smith, from Crimora, who rebuilt the console with a new computerized control system with the addition of digital voices and a re-leathering of the wind chests.

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Prompt and Friendly Service for The Lost Chord

The Lost Chord music arrived today in perfect condition. Thanks for your prompt and friendly service!” —Missouri, USA

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Heritage Lottery Fund Grant for 1866 William Hill Organ

Organ Music Returns to the Cathedral of Coquetdale

Once again, a National Heritage Lottery is a much better idea than this “Power Ball” thing I keep reading about in the USA.

All Saints Church, known as the Cathedral of Coquetdale, has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £36,200 to restore and resite its listed church organ. More than £27,000 was raised locally for the restoration, which will mean that, for the first time in almost 150 years, the organ will be heard in all its original glory.

Its highly-decorated pipes will be visible and the instrument will be seen as a free-standing example of Victorian organ-building in a new location at the north-east end of the nave.

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Residents Complain about Loud Organ Music

Baseball’s ‘Moronic Organ Music’ Too Loud for Residents

You know I am fond of organ music where ever it may be found. You know that I will post interesting stories about organs in sports facilities and about the organists who play them. Here’s one I have never seen before. These residents are complaining about the organ music volume coming from this baseball game. Hmm, I wonder if it’s more than simply the volume. Could it be also about a prejudice against organ music?

Norwood residents are complaining Australian Baseball League games held at The Parade ballpark are too loud, too late into the night.

Annoyed residents want Adelaide Bite to cut down on late-night noise during and after baseball games at Norwood Oval. One Norwood resident has gone as far as letterboxing neighbours to rally support to have “baseball noise” — including music and stadium announcements — reduced during night games at The Parade ballpark.

“I have found the baseball noise an issue, especially when finishing close to 11pm,” the letter, from a resident named Maria, stated. “Once completed the petition will be presented to Norwood (Payneham and St Peters) Council, Norwood Oval management and the club to look at solutions … e.g. reducing intensity of noise after 9.30pm.”

Maria did not wish to comment on the petition, when contacted by the Eastern Courier Messenger.

Can you imagine that the complaints refer to an enormous stadium with towering banks of speakers pumping out ta-DAH ta-DAH? You may decide. Here’s a photo.

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