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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A Big Admirer

“Thanks – I’m a big admirer of your little operation!” —Massachusetts, USA

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Five for Advent, What’s an Aubade, Toccata on Noël Nouvelet, and Singing Pilgrims

I have chosen the four pieces for November, and I tried to show as much variety as I could. There are selections for service music and concert music. I hope you like them.


1. ADVENT by Pietro Yon. December 2 is the beginning of the 2018 Advent season, a bit later than usual. Pietro Yon’s “First Religious Suite for Organ” turned out to be his only one due to his death in the same year of publication, 1943. Your congregation may not recognize these once popular Catholic melodies, but you probably will.

2. AUBADE, by Edwin H Lemare. What’s an Aubade? Chabrier, Massenet, Ravel, Satie, and Poulenc used this term as a title in their non-organic compositions. There have been a few organ compositions with this title, the best known by Louis Vierne from the year following Lemare’s piece, 1927.

3. FINALE ON A NOEL, by Harry Banks. The tune used here is Noël Nouvelet, a late 15th century French Christmas carol. Its primary English version is known as “Sing we now of Christmas.” This was the last published piece by Banks.

4. PILGRIMS’ CHORUS from TANNHÄUSER, by Richard Wagner, transcribed by Clarence Eddy. Here is an alternative to the Lemare transcription of the Pilgrims’ Chorus. It’s the earliest with the exception of those by Wagner’s friend, Franz Liszt. Eddy’s is much easier and shorter than the Overture which also contains this beloved melody.

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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St Theodulph: All Glory, Laud, and Honor

St Theodulph: All Glory, Laud, and Honor

So many of you have bought and played Garth Edmundson’s Vom Himmel Hoch.html that I felt that I must restore this toccata on St Theodulph. It’s a lot like it in that it’s energetic and the melody is obvious to everyone. If you don’t quickly recognize the tune St Theodulph, just think of “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” that you probably sing at least once per year.

Watch for this one in December 2018 or January 2019.

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I Could Have Listened to You Play That All Day

Good morning. I just had to write an email to say a big thank you for your wonderful service. The music you provide is so well loved! Last week, I received the monthly bundle (along with a couple of other pieces as well). This past Sunday, I had been asked to be part of an organ dedication concert here in my home town. At the last minute I chose to substitute the Browne Meditation for my last piece. Let me just say that it turned out to be the best decision. After an hour of organists showing off the full volume of the organ, this piece was a perfect ending to the concert. It highlighted many different colors, the middle section did allow for a nice crescendo, and it ended by quietly fading to the softest stops. Afterwards so many people complimented that piece. “I could have listened to you play that all day.” “We had no idea the organ could sound like that.” “Can you show our organist how to make it sound like that for him?” So thank you again for finding these old gems and returning them to us!

My second thank you is about the lovely knitted piece that was in the package as well. I have to admit that I did not discover it at first. That happened when my husband was cleaning up the packing envelope that I had left on the piano bench and noticed that there was still something inside. Coincidentally, his favorite color is purple so that was an extra bonus. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

—Vermont, USA

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Listen to Some Free Organ MP3s

Listen to Some Free Organ MP3s

Today, I would like to call attention to the recordings that I offer on my site that allow you to hear what a piece sounds like to help you decide whether you want to learn and play it. Some of them are professional performances and some are from amateurs who love the music. If you listen to something you like, you can be assured that I offer it for sale.


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Dean Billmeyer and the Northrup Aeolian-Skinner

Minnesota Orch & Restored 90-year-old Northrup Organ

Please watch and enjoy the short video of this uplifting story. If you know Dean, you must know how proud he is of this!

The talent of the Minnesota Orchestra is undeniable, but for U of M Professor of Music Dean Billmeyer, there’s been something missing in recent years until now.“Playing a big organ like this with lot of stops and lots of pipes and lots of colors. One of the really fun things is you can orchestrate music,” said Billmeyer.

This Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ was first installed at the Northrup between 1932 to 1936. It’s considered one of the most notable concert hall pipe organs in the country. During the Northrup’s 2011 renovation, the organ was carefully placed into storage.

If you would like to read more, here are four links from the OHS Database which cover the history.



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