Better than Anything Mendelssohn Wrote for the Organ

“Thank you for this. As it so happens, I have played the Eddy work [Prelude and Fugue in A Minor] in recital for more than a decade now. It’s an exceptional piece, as I’ve told my students, better than anything Mendelssohn wrote for the organ.

Well, how time flies: I’ve been playing the Eddy for more like 17 years.”

—Indiana, USA



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Learning All the Movements for Worship Services

“I purchased Advent by Pietro Yon from Michael a couple of weeks ago, and I’m having a great time learning all the movements for worship services this month. It’s so much fun! I’m doing the “Creator of the Stars of Night” tomorrow as a postlude right before a semi-annual Congo meeting, so its light-hearted spirit is perfect. Thanks to Michael!” —Tennessee, USA

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The Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon

With a Pipe Organ, the Hollywood Theatre Goes Old-School

The Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon, “has been the concern of the Columbia River Theatre Organ Society, a volunteer organization formed in 1994 to preserve organs like the one at the Hollywood. For the better part of a decade, they’ve been meticulously rebuilding and refurbishing the pipe organ that dates back to when the Hollywood opened its doors in 1926. On Saturday, Nov 24 they’ll be letting Portland movie lovers hear the results of their efforts for the first time, with a screening of the 1922 horror classic Nosferatu.”

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Every Part of It Is Useful

“Hi, Michael and John! Just wanted you to know that the Yon Advent Suite I ordered is one of the most delightful musical pieces I have ever had. I have enjoyed it so much. It is wonderful to play, and every part of it is useful. I am going to play the first two next Sunday. The next two the following Sunday — Love that Ave Maria — and finish up with the Toccata after that! Thank you so much for finding this and making it available to us.

Blessings, and Merry Christmas!”

—Georgia, USA

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Some Orchids, an Andante, some Shadows, and a Prelude and Fugue

Greetings, everyone. For December, on the assumption that you will not have much time to learn challenging music, I have chosen pieces that lie in the simpler spectrum. Even the Prelude and Fugue is graded Moderate to Moderately Difficult. Some selections are for service music and some work best as concert music. I hope you like them.

1. WHITE ORCHIDS by James F Cooke, transcribed by Clarence Kohlmann. Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I am bringing back music written and arranged by Kohlmann, the great organist for twenty years at Ocean Grove Auditorium in New Jersey. Cooke wrote a piano piece titled “White Orchids” which was originally published in 1941 by Theodore Presser. It was described that year in The Etude, Vol 59, No 6, as “a lyric idyl, somewhat in the form of MacDowell’s ‘To a Wild Rose.'” Kohlmann subtitled Cooke’s atmospheric gem for use in a wedding as “White Orchids.”

2. ANDANTE IN D, by Alfred Hollins. In his autobiography, Hollins wrote that many listeners and musicians had told him that this was his best piece … and that he didn’t disagree! For you to hear it, I offer David Liddle’s recording on the Hull City Hall organ. Incidentally, Hollins played Hull’s original Forster & Andrews organ from 1911.

3. EVENING SHADOWS, by R S Stoughton. This lovely nocturne is the next-to-last published piece by Stoughton — who you may remember was a banker! It is designed such that the music works very well on a theatre organ as well as on an orchestral organ. His music creates the atmosphere of a beautiful evening.

4. PRELUDE AND FUGUE IN A MINOR, by Clarence Eddy. For those looking for a Baroque Prelude and Fugue that is not by Bach but respects his musicality and styles, I offer the last of a series called “The Church and Concert Organist,” Number 37. It’s from 1882 and is first-class in every way.

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.

Thank you all for your interest in this music and your support for my restoration efforts.


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Wanting Sunshine Toccata for Quite Awhile

Yes, please include me in your list.  Actually my husband is the one who is the organist, but I’m the one who uses the computer.  He has been wanting Sunshine Toccata for quite awhile.  He chose the other pieces also as part of his Christmas present. —New Jersey, USA

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New Recording of Mueller’s In Bethlehem’s Town

New Recording of Mueller’s In Bethlehem’s Town

I am pleased to present my first organ recording of this beautiful little gem. Steve Schlesing performed this on the Hauptwerk Virtual Pipe Organ using the Reuter Opus 227 (Portland, Oregon) sample set. It’s not hard to play and easy to listen to. Seems to me that it’s perfect for Christmas Eve! Thanks, Steve.


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In Memoriam of The Great War — World War I

In Memoriam of The Great War — World War I

Because of recent news widely circulated in the USA regarding Americans who died in The Great War and who are buried in a French cemetery, I asked John Apple to play Gordon Balch Nevin’s “In Memoriam” from 1916. Whether you visit a grave or remember those who died so that you and we might be free, you honor the memory of the dead. Here is what I wrote about Nevin’s piece.

In Memoriam may have been Nevin’s response to the Battle of Verdun which began in February 1916 and produced around 700,000 dead over the year; or perhaps it was his response to the Battle of Jutland which began on May 31 and lasted until the next day but yielded more than 8,600 deaths; or perhaps he was considering “The Great War” as a whole up to that point. He gave this piece the subtitle of “An Elegy for the Organ”; an elegy is a lament for the dead.


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Col Robert Barmettler 2012 Death Notice and Obituary

Col Robert Barmettler Died in 2012

I dealt with Col Barmettler after the death of his wife, Jeanne Shaffer, to publish her organ piece, Partita on Schmücke dich. He asked for no royalties and hoped only that I would publish her music and make it available to organists. I did in fact send him royalties for years, but I lost track of him and his assistant. I now have the reason. He died back in 2012 but my arrangement with him was “word of mouth” and there was no record for an estate administrator to find. My payments to him were not returned but neither were they deposited. His phone was not answered and then disconnected. So, I waited for news, even after his wife’s, Jeanne Shaffer, piece continued to sell. I now have the obituary to offer you. He was an intensely supportive husband who believed in the quality of his wife’s music. Would all spouses be so encouraging.

Barmettler, Robert Stephen died peacefully at home on Sunday, December 16, 2012 after a long life lived intensely and well. A secular memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 12 at the Octagon Theatre at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

Born 25 April 1924, in Stans, Switzerland, Robert immigrated to America with his family in 1930. He quickly added English to the French and German he already knew, excelled in sports and theatrical productions at school and entered the U.S. Army in 1942, where he served in the European Theater of Operations during WW2. After the war, he graduated from San Jose State University in 1949 and joined the U.S. Air Force, where he trained to be a pilot and later a navigator. He served with distinction in many locations including most of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, India and Vietnam where he earned both Bronze and Silver Stars for valor. In addition to flying, he was a squadron commander at the Air Force Academy and an administrator at the Air War College at Maxwell AFB. He retired in 1970 as a lieutenant colonel and began a second career as a professor of English and Drama at Huntingdon College. During his career, he earned a masters degree and eventually a PhD.

Robert is best known in Montgomery for creating the Dungeon Theatre on the campus of Huntingdon College and teaching there for 18 years; supporting Alabama Shakespeare Festival both as an actor and patron; performing with and supporting the Montgomery Civic Ballet; establishing the Montgomery School of Fine Arts; teaching speech at Alabama State University for 10 years; performing for many summers as Old Tom in the outdoor drama “The Lost Colony”; and for collaborating and writing with Dr. Jeanne E. Shaffer a number of musical stage plays. After leaving Huntingdon, he married Jeanne Shaffer, and they traveled throughout the US performing in regional music theatre before returning to Montgomery permanently.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, a sister and his second wife. He is survived by two sisters: Hildegard Barmettler Graves and Johanna Barmettler Black; Babette Barmettler and Heidi Barmettler Eldred, his daughters with Caroline Barmettler; and, four granddaughters: Elizabeth, Virginia, Margaret and Anne Eldred. He is also survived by the children of Jeanne Shaffer: Jeannette Sowman, Madolyn Griffin, Beverly Shaffer, Larry Shaffer and Malinda Shaffer-Farrington; and, nine step-grandchildren.

Anyone wishing to speak at the memorial service should contact Babette Barmettler 334-462-7748. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Alabama Shakespeare Festival or the arts education fund of the donor’s choice in his honor.

Published in the Montgomery Advertiser on Jan. 6, 2013

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Yon’s Advent Music for This December

“Thanks for all of the work you do! I’m looking forward to incorporating some of Yon’s Advent music into my line-up this December. Keep up the good work!” —North Carolina, USA

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