Remembering Robert Clark

Robert Clark Was Instrumental in ASU’s Organ Program

You may remember that Robert (Bob) Clark died about a year ago. A group of his students has organized an event to honor him. He was a world-class teacher at the University of Michigan and at Arizona State. See below for a photo of their beautiful organ. Please leave your memories below in the comments.

Clark passed away on Aug. 23, 2017 at the age of 85. As a part of the Organ Series at ASU, a group of Clark’s former students will be participating in an event to honor the organist.  Following a 14-year career at University of Michigan, Clark joined the School of Music faculty at ASU where he played a pivotal role in the development of the organ department and its facilities.

Kimberly Marshall, current professor of organ and Clark’s successor, said Clark’s impact on the organ program has attracted many organists to the university, including herself.

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Reprinting Items that Once Were Popular

“Michael, it wonderful that you are reprinting items that once were popular but have been out of print for a considerable time, making them available to a new generation of players.  The things I have ordered, both now and in the past, are mostly things I’ve had in my repertoire and played for many years.  Having new copies of these things is marvelous.  I retired three years ago after 48 years of full-time church work and my music library is quite large.  If there is ever something you’re looking for and can’t find please let me know.  It’s just possible that I have it!” —New York, USA

Thanks, I may take you up on that in the future! —Michael

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New Recording of Drdla’s Souvenir

New Recording of Drdla’s Souvenir

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. Just for the record, this restoration was made from a recommendation by Lew Williams. You can see that I do take your suggestions seriously!

Drdla-Maclean.Souvenir.html

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Not Sure What to Do About Cannons in the Church

“I sent my first order in the other day. I really hadn’t browsed your site much; I get so much email some things just fade into the clutter. But I really liked your transcriptions and in fact am thinking about doing a recital down the road a bit strictly of transcriptions. I am especially excited about learning The Marriage of Figaro and the 1812 Overtures. I have handbells at my church and was thinking about working them in for the bell section. Not sure what to do about cannons in the church, lol! I am pretty sure my priest would not approve of anything gunpowder-ish … but maybe some pounding on the timpani we have would work.” —Oklahoma, USA

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1812 Requested

“Hello Michael,

I’ve been hoping you would soon get the transcription for organ of the 1812 Overture. And so you have!!!!!

Thank you.”

—Oregon, USA

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Stay Challenged with New Music

“It was a joy to find these transcriptions of great music that I can present on the organ! I think some of these may be a challenge, but I think it is important to keep myself challenged with new music (to me anyway) so that my skills don’t atrophy. Thanks for such great music!” —Oklahoma, USA

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A Celtic Melody, Divinum Mysterium, a Royal Approach, and the 1812

For September, I offer three easily playable pieces and one that would challenge the finest organist. There is an interesting history behind each one, and I encourage you to visit each page to read about them and, for two of them, to listen to recent performances which will show you what they sound like.

ORGAN SHEET MUSIC

1. CELTIC MELODY by Geoffrey O’Connor-Morris. This lovely piece is suitable for a quiet prelude or a contemplative selection for a concert. Recording included.
O’Connor-Morris.CelticMelody.html

2. POSTLUDE ON “DIVINUM MYSTERIUM,” by Miles Martin. This tune is known from the plainchant and for “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.” Not all postludes have to be loud, and this one isn’t. Recording included.
Martin.PostludeOnDivinumMysterium.html

3. ROYAL APPROACH, by Gatty Sellars. This military-style march was written by the great organist of program music and dedicated to the first ever official BBC Organist, Reginald Foort. Interestingly, both Sellars and Foort died in the USA. “Royal Approach” sounds good on any organ.
Sellars.RoyalApproach.html

4. 1812 OVERTURE, by Tchaikovsky, transcribed by Edwin Evans. Prepare to spend a couple of evenings learning this one. 🙂 This is the full “Ouverture Solennelle,” as Tchaikovsky called it in the French transliteration. Edwin Evans Senr (Senior) transcribed the entire piece from the orchestral score in 1909, and like Samuel Warren, he indicated the instruments as they appear so you can taylor your registrations appropriately. The only thing not included are the cannons! (although they were used at the first performance in Moscow) If you play this, you are absolutely guaranteed a standing ovation!
Tchaikovsky-Evans.1812Overture.html

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.
MonthlyBundles/201809.html

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

Cheers!
Michael

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Ellsasser’s Peaceful Waters in a New Recording

Ellsasser’s Peaceful Waters in a New Recording

Steve Schlesing has contributed his recording of Richard Ellsasser’s “Peaceful Waters” on the Reuter Opus 227 sample set on Hauptwerk. It is a musically and stylistically devoted performance which recreates Ellsasser’s intent. The piece is technically easy and it’s the third of the Compositions for Organ  published by R D Row.

  1. Ellsasser.1.MarcheFantastique.html

  2. Ellsasser.2.TowardEvening.html

  3. Ellsasser.3.PeacefulWaters.html

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Michael Stairs Dead at Age 72

Michael Stairs Dead at Age 72

You know the old saw that unpleasantries come in lots of three? So soon after the death of the great organ patron, Wesley C Dudley, comes the death of the friendly and extremely talented organist, Michael Ondon Stairs. (I am not eagerly awaiting the third notice.) Michael had cancer but still his death came suddenly. It seems like only recently that he was ordering music from me to play at Church of the Redeemer. I and all of his huge number of friends, admirers, and fans will miss him.

Read the obituary from The Inquirer:

Michael Stairs, 72, Philadelphia Orchestra organist

Read thoughts and listen to an 2013 interview from WRTI:

Remembering a Leading Light in Philadelphia’s Music World

Read the obituary from Legacy.com:

legacy.com/obituaries/

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Liszt’s Les Préludes in New Recording

Liszt’s Les Préludes in New Recording

Those of you who follow my transcriptions of major works may remember that I have restored two versions of Liszt’s popular orchestral tone poem. One is by the blind violinist and organist, Edwin Grasse, and this one by Edwin Arthur Kraft. They both present good transcription ideas and are different enough that I wanted to restore both.

Kees Alblas was kind enough to share his recording from a concert he gave in July 2018  in the Augustian Church in Dordrecht, Netherlands. He played the II/21 stop Maarschalkerweerd organ (1899) which is a fine instrument, though a bit smaller than most used with this difficult transcription. Bravo!

Liszt-Kraft.LesPreludes.html

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