Questions & Answers

If you have a question concerning organ music, post it here and everyone can read the answers!

29 Responses to Questions & Answers

  1. Don VerKuilen says:

    Hello. I am a subscriber. I Love reading your things! I was wondering if you could post something about the dedication concert of a new organ in Green Bay Wisconsin. I am an 18 year old concert organist and the organist at the church. Email me for more info if you are able to =]

    • Don VerKuilen says:

      by the way. you did an article on this website. It’s the same organ! We got the first sounds out of it today!

  2. Hi, Don. Sure, send me a link of an article. I haven’t seen one yet and I’d appreciate your notice of any news, especially a video. The original photo and article that I mentioned on is now gone, but your comments are still there.

  3. Ben Baldus says:

    I’m looking to acquire a recent, reliable complete edition of Buxtehude’s organ works. Any recommendations?


    Ben Baldus

    • Hi, Ben. The consensus seems to be that Peters is the cheaper choice and OK for selected pieces. The pricier alternatives are Barenreiter and Breitkofp. I think perhaps the Barenreiter is more accepted. The problem is how the editor handles tablature, which Bach used a bit but Buxtehude used a lot. (I’m on the board of if you’re interested in alternate notation systems such as tablature.)

      There has been a lot of opinion expressed on piporg-l, FWIW:
      and search for “Buxtehude edition” and you’ll get a lot of opinions.

  4. Ben Baldus says:

    I just rejoined PIPORG-L after a hiatus from the list when it was being a bit childish, but I decided to ask you first as a music dealer and commentator on matters of music publishing. Barenreiter does lots of nicely edited editions. I was in Germany for several weeks before Easter and their work for the organist’s edition of the Evangelische Kirchen Gesangbuch (EKG) is very nice and includes pieces by many contemporary European composers as preludes and introductions to hymns therein.

    Ben Baldus

  5. Bélier Toccata

    Over the years, there has been interest in a piece by Gaston Bélier called Toccata pour Grand Orgue in D Minor. Most people have heard it played by Diane Bish. There are two modern editions of it available for free, so I have not pursued a restoration but instead will post the links to the PDFs for free download.

    Pierre Gouin:,_Gaston%29

    Maurizio Machella:

  6. Pingback: Gaston Bélier’s Famous Toccata | MMS Organ Music Blog

  7. ori says:


    can anyone please help me recognize this organ music peice:

    Thank you

  8. “Do you know a source of Widor’s “Mattheus-Final from Bach’s Memento”. I ran across it on youtube. The only thing i find is that Widor who was fond of Bach complied 6 pieces in 1925. Ii’d appreciate y’all looking for this.”

    If you want the scanned version (unrestored with markings and pasted bits), use,_Charles-Marie%29

    If you want an edited version (from 2008), still in print as of 2012, order Butz’s edition from your music store or from OHS.


  9. “I could not help but notice your reference to George Whiting’s “Pastorale” from the Cincinnati Music Hall Series. I am a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and a current graduate student in organ at the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati! Small world.”

    “I understand you will be reprinting the work soon. Is this correct? I’m becoming more curious about this piece since you mentioned the connection to Cincinnati. I am not familiar with the piece. How did you come across it if you don’t mind me asking?” —Ohio, USA

    Yes, it’s planned for August (this month). I had restored the “Processional Prelude” from this series and hoped organists would be pleased to play it and perhaps some of the others. John Church, 66 West 4th St in Cincinnati, published this series of pieces played on the “The Great Organ” around 1878 but the pieces were reprinted from an earlier time. The Whiting “Pastorale” was originally published in a collection by Oliver Ditson in 1868. Thank you so much for your interest! —Michael

  10. Saint Cecilia Series

    “I have bought a few items from your fine company, and it’s great to see a lot of hard to find organ repertoire back in print. Thanks! I was wondering if the “St Cecilia Series” of organ compositions of H W Gray has ever been reprinted or if there is any way to buy or find some of the titles. There is always a big list of titles on the back of these pieces and I would like to find out more about this repertoire.” —New York, USA

    Hi, and thanks for the question. I’d like to address it here on the blog so that everyone might read it. They say nothing in life is easy, and this is the number one organ music question that fits that!

    The Saint Cecilia Series published by H W Gray contained some of the world’s best organ music, and much of it is passed around today in increasingly poor photocopied collections. Some of it is still available in print. Some of it is still covered under US Copyright but not available. Some of it is Public Domain. Some of it has disappeared, meaning that is lost forever. Some of it has been “re-engraved” and “republished.” See what I mean?

    St Cecilia Organ Music Series

    We at Michael’s Music Service are your best bet for getting to the truth for a particular piece. I have restored some of the titles, and I have others planned. In some cases, I must pay the current copyright holder, Alfred Music, for the privilege of restoring and distributing a piece. They don’t actually have most of the pieces; they own the intellectual property (IP) which is the copyright. For these pieces, I have to purchase a license from them so that they get paid, and this must be built into the price that I charge you, the organist. If this seems perverted, it is. The copyright law was not intended to support squatters, but that’s how it has worked out. A company, such as H W Gray, was bought by another company, which was bought by another company, and that was bought by another company. One of the companies was a holding company, one of the companies was a soft drink company, and the last company was in fact another music publisher. By the time the last owner bought it, there were no or very little physical assets left; the property they paid for is a listing, a catalogue of copyright registrations proving that they own the rights to the listed pieces. So, they have no intention and no way of putting anything back in print. Indeed, they don’t even have an original printed piece, much less the original metal printing plates, from which to work!

    Thus, I and John Apple created Michael’s Music Service to restore some titles of important pieces that I thought should be available in printed form. Several of these are buried in the Library of Congress in highly compressed and shrunken downloadable documents. There are other websites which offer pieces poorly scanned and uploaded by well-meaning but untrained volunteers. These methods do not have longevity as a strong point. When a school loses interest in keeping its music archive site going or when the money to keep imslp dries up, the music there also goes away.

    You can see the titles from H W Gray that I offer through this link.

    So, if you have questions about a particular piece, ask right here, and I’ll get you an answer. It won’t always be what you want to hear, but I will give it my best effort.


    • George Murphy says:

      Westminster Choir College has acquired several collections; however, there has not been any movement to get it all collated, and filed in an significant manner.

      Perhaps the school will enlist volunteers to try to get it up and running – I’m game!

  11. Pingback: Some Comments on the Saint Cecilia Series | MMS Organ Music Blog

  12. I got this question via email.

    Thanks Michael, I absolutely love your music service!! I look forward every month to what you have available. I’ve been looking forever for an organ arrangement of the “Old Refrain” by Kreisler.

    Thank you for your interest. It’s out now with all four Kreisler pieces from the series.

    Have you considered republishing “Dreams” by Hugh McAmis or the Maestoso in C sharp minor by Vierne/Schreiner? Also do you know if the organ arrangement of “A Perfect Day” by Bond as played by Virgil Fox is available anywhere? Thanks again for all you do.

    Yes for “Dreams” but I haven’t done a copyright search yet. They take a long time!

    I don’t think Virgil’s arrangement of “A Perfect Day” was published as sheet music or even in a book. I’ll look around for something on Perfect Day. It’s a great melody. —Michael

    • George Murphy says:

      Hi Michael, and colleagues ~ All of Virgil’s transcription pieces were from piano scores, or they were freely conceived with Robert Hebble seated next to him at the console during every recording session.

      The only selections that were marked arranged by specific composers are as follows:
      Songs My Mother Taught Me – Preston Ware Orem
      The Swan – Guilmant
      Londonderry Air – J. Stewart Archer

      These were from the Capitol years – a.k.a., “Slush Recordings.”

    • George Murphy says:

      I do have a copy for solo organ of this lovely tune – let me know.

  13. This note to me via email: A pianist colleague of mine has alerted me to the music of Horace Wadham Nicholl (1848-1922), who was born in the Midlands of the UK before he emigrated to the USA. I found some delightful ‘Songs without Words’ on IMSLP, as well as much larger-scale pieces. I had never heard of him before, and wondered whether you were aware of his music? Perhaps a candidate for re-printing?

    Many thanks for keeping me on your mailing-list; I have played all the pieces I have bought from MMS! —United Kingdom

    • You’re right! I hadn’t known of him and I want to find out about him and his music. The scans on IMSLP are not professionally done and I would need originals to perform a proper restoration. I’ve passed this on to John for some research on what is available. We know from John Henderson that he moved to the US and worked here and died here. Thanks very much for the suggestion. —Michael

  14. LuAnn Ebke says:

    Is it possible to still find a copy of Swingin’ Bach by Porter Heaps?

    • Only found in used music places, sadly. I asked on Facebook back in February 2015, and there was just not enough interest.

      Hmm, posted since Feb 10 and still no interest in this one. Maybe it’s the music, or maybe everybody is too busy watching cat videos.
      Michael’s Music Service
      February 10, 2015 ·

      I’ve recently had suggestions from two fine organists, each on different continents, for Porter Heaps’s SWINGIN’ BACH. Is there sufficient interest for it? (BTW, the Langstroth failed to attract enough interest.)

  15. I got this question via Facebook: Greetings Michael! I have been looking for Sketches on Negro Spirituals by D’Antalffy-Zsiross and I see you have a number of his works listed on your website. Do you have a score to that, and if so, is there a way I can purchase a copy of it? Also, if you have ny unpublished works by Fela Sowande, or works based on Negro Spirituals, I would be interested in them as well. I have gotten a number of your pieces in the past and they are wonderful! Thanks, David Christopher

    Here is the link on the book, published 1986, that has the Spirituals piece. All of these pieces were unpublished until this volume.

    Publisher website (Hungary):

    Boosey website (UK):

    Concerning Sowande: There are two pieces on American Negro Spirituals, published in 1955: Joshua Fit de Battle of Jericho, Go Down Moses. Sowande made a recording playing these.

    Both pieces are contained in this collection from GIA: King of Kings, vol. 2

    —John Apple

    • John, Thank you SO MUCH!!! I have searched the internet and have not been able to find that volume of D’Antalffy-Zsiross. I just ordered it and hope to include Sketches on Negro Spirituals in a recital I’m doing next year of works based on Negro Spirituals. I have both of the Sowande pieces in the King of Kings collection. I have seen mention of other compositions by Sowande but they seem to be out of print … or perhaps were never printed. If you have an leads there, please let me know. In any case, thanks again. You made my day!!!

  16. George Murphy says:

    I am trying to locate a copy of Chorus of Pilgrims (Pilgrims Chorus) from Wagner, as arranged by Hreve D. Wilkins. Any suggestions?

    In addition, he had composed several very interesting original works. A musical legend worth pursuing.

  17. George Murphy says:

    On a final note: Michael and John are two of the most conscientious and hard-working propagators of this important movement. This is a great blog and resource center for informative materials, as well as the music itself.

    Everything is done legitimately and using quality materials, too.

    Thank you gentlemen for your continued support.

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