Swinnen’s Aria, Bedell’s Pedal Toccata, Callaerts’s Opus 21, and Nevin’s Toccata in D Minor

Restored Organ Music

A one-measure excerpt from some not-so-easy Reger organ music

As I write this announcement, my area is continuing to recover after flood damage, thousands have evacuated because of forest fires, and tornadoes appeared last night. I can’t wait for 2016 to be over! In my last announcement for this year, I have chosen two pieces requested by you, the organists, and two that I’ve wanted to restore just for myself.


1. ARIA, by Firmin Swinnen. American organists have known this beautiful piece since the 1960s. Recently, I have had two requests by Belgians for more of Swinnen’s music, and this was top of the list. You will not be disappointed. Pamela Kane (Greensboro, North Carolina) has had three Swinnen articles published in the newsletter of the Belgian “Studiecentrum Vlaamse Muziek,” and I have included links on a post on Swinnen with a biography from 2014: michaelsmusicservice.com/blog/?p=7386.

2. TOCCATA BASSE, by Robert Leech Bedell. This is a restoration of the first edition, published in 1943 by Elkan-Vogel. Most organists today remember Bedell’s own reprint under his “Edition Le Grand Orgue” label. His pedal solo encompasses “Schmuecke Dich” and marked as an hommage to J S Bach. I believe it’s playable by a large number of organists, which many other pedal pieces are not.

3. PIECES POUR ORGUE, OPUS 21, by Joseph Callaerts. I was inspired by emails from organists who wanted more music from Belgian composers. We all know Franck, Jongen, and Swinnen whom I mentioned above. Here is someone else you should know about. Callaerts (1830–1901) was born in Antwerp and studied with Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens, where he won first prize in organ in 1856. He served as organist of the Cathedral in Antwerp and taught organ and harmony at the Antwerpse Muziekschool from 1867 until his death in 1901. He wrote around 60 pieces of organ music. I chose to start with his Opus 21 because the music is useful for services and not too difficult. Let me know what you think.

4. TOCCATA IN D MINOR by Gordon Balch Nevin. This was the other requested piece. I’ve restored other of his pieces, but this one has more Youtube videos than them all! If you have not heard it, I have included a few links on the page.

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.

Last, here’s a bit of trivia for the Season. I have had to reprint Edmundson’s Vom Himmel Hoch *twice* since I first announced it! I did not expect that, and I don’t know why it is so popular. So, I want to thank you for your interest in this music, and have a great Advent and Christmas; I’ll see you in 2017!


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One Response to Swinnen’s Aria, Bedell’s Pedal Toccata, Callaerts’s Opus 21, and Nevin’s Toccata in D Minor

  1. Hi Michael,

    I know exactly why Vom Himmel is so popular. It’s extremely flashy and exciting. When I played it for Lessons and Carols at Converse a few years ago, the congregation cheered like they were at a football game! I really had scored a touchdown!!

    Thank you for all you do.

    —South Carolina, USA

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