Thomas Murray Plays From Holberg’s Time

“Good to hear from you too, Michael. Looking forward to getting the Holberg arrangement; just got a CD with Tom Murray playing it on a big Schoenstein in Texas somewhere — magnificent as expected! I think I am on your lists and certainly Facebook regularly features but do please check all the same. Very Best.”
—United Kingdom

I found Tom’s recording recommended above on

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Great Organ Transcription of Liszt’s Les Préludes

“Thanks a lot for this great organ transcription of Liszt’s Les Préludes, which I couldn’t find anywhere else. Print quality is fantastic and I received it unexpectedly fast. I’m afraid it’s not the last time I will order something in your webshop.” —Netherlands

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Oh, the Bells, Bells, Bells, Bells, Bells

Oh, the Bells, Bells, Bells, Bells, Bells

Listen to Reginald Dixon on the Blackpool Tower Ballroom play this beautiful Ketèlbey music as arranged by Gatty Sellars. There are a lot of organists who have access to chimes on their organs but don’t find a good reason to use them. Well, here is the answer! I also offer other recordings on the page.

Bells Across the Meadows by Albert Ketèlbey, arranged by Gatty Sellars


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Richard and Betty Peek Tribute by John Apple

by John Apple
Historian of Charlotte Chapter of the American Guild of Organists

When I was in graduate school (1978-81) at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ, I met Michael Johnston, a graduate church music major. We were both enrolled in a course on choral literature. One day, there was a class discussion on the motet O sacrum Convivium by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992), a noted French composer. One student questioned why our class should be discussing this piece because he did not believe that a church choir would ever do this piece. In his mind, this piece was too difficult for most church choirs, and most congregations would be hostile toward such a piece as this (it was in Latin and was harmonically dissonant). Michael stated to the class that he had done this piece as a high school student in the Covenant Presbyterian adult choir. Thus began my introduction to Richard and Betty Peek and Covenant Presbyterian.

Shortly after moving to Charlotte in September 1982, I learned how great an influence that the Peeks were on musical culture in the church and community. Many of the seeds sown through the graded choir program and Sunday services bore fruit in their being asked to serve on the committees for two hymnals of the Presbyterian Church: The Worshipbook (1972) and The Presbyterian Hymnal (1990). They helped begin the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, whose office was at Covenant for a number of years. This is one of the important music organizations that serves Presbyterian, as well as church musicians from other denominations, through its publications and yearly music and worship conference at Montreat. Since their arrival in 1952, there has been a music concert series that occurs almost every month at Covenant. Through these programs (many in co-sponsorship with the Charlotte Chapter AGO), many of the great organists and choral groups from America and Europe have been heard, as well as other local musicians. Some of the organists who performed were Andre Marchal, Marie-Claire Alain (French), Heinz Wunderlich (German), Piet Kee (Dutch), Guy Bovet (Swiss), Robert Noehren, David Craighead, Gerre and Judith Hancock , and Michael Murray (Americans). Choral groups that performed were St. Paul’s Cathedral (London), King’s College (Cambridge), Westminster Abbey, St. Thomas Church (New York City), and Trinity College (Cambridge). Members of this church had their first musical experiences through the choral program, involvement in performances of many of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and madrigal dinners at Christmas. In a day when teenage choirs have dwindled, those at Covenant have set a standard for music excellence and education (especially in the SMART trips). Dr. Peek has guided the installation of the three organs of Covenant and has served as consultant on several organ projects in the region. He is Vice-Chair of the Carolinas Organ Society for the organ at the NC Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. He has served as our AGO chapter Dean more than any other in our 50 year history (1954-55, 1965-66, 1981-83), as well as being the Region IV Chair for the AGO. In honor of Richard and Betty’s contribution to the Charlotte Chapter, the chapter board voted earlier this year to sponsor an annual concert.

When the Search Committee recommended that Covenant hire the Peeks, both congregation and clergy were willing to support the vision and education that they would being. In a day when Christian tradition is being traded for trendy pop culture and mega-churches, this church has continued to pass this tradition to its children, through its theology, hymns, music, and visual art. Through its concert series, the Charlotte community has had the opportunity to experience this musical culture, which otherwise would have been neglected. It can be stated that because of the vision and guidance of Richard and Betty Peek, no other church in Charlotte has supported the arts in such a broad and continuing fashion. May their legacy be continued through these programs and education through Covenant Presbyterian Church.

His piece, A Festive March (Marche en Rondeau) is available here.

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Richard Peek Biography Added

I have added the capsule biography of Richard M Peek to the Biographies Page.

I published A Festive March (Marche en Rondeau) back in 2010. I thought it would be really useful in services because he used to play it a lot in many different situations, from processions of clergy and academics to weddings. I may publish his largest duet composition for organ and harpsichord or piano in the future. It contains the original of his best known work, “Aria,” which was published by H W Gray.

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Sorabji’s Second Symphony in Iowa

8-hour Concert to Inaugurate Voxman’s New Organ

Many of you already know of Kevin Bowyer’s interest in the obscure composer, Kaikhosru Sorabji, and you will be pleased that Kevin is bringing his Second Symphony to life in its entirety on the new Klais organ at the University of Iowa. Playing this piece boggles my mind!

“A life-changing event.” That’s how English organist Kevin Bowyer describes the experience of playing composer Kaikhosru Sorabji’s “Second Symphony for Organ” — a piece that takes about 8½ hours when performed in its entirety.

It’s not just the physical toll that the performance will take on Bowyer as he plays the piece Feb. 10 to inaugurate the new organ for the University of Iowa’s Clapp Voxman School of Music.

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Prompt Service, Beautiful Editions

Thank you, as usual, for your prompt service, the beautiful editions, and for including the white knit doily [dust cloth] with the note! All best. —Massachusetts, USA

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Organ Pump Revisited

This Organ Shakes Up Oberlin

Mark Blanchard sent me this great article from The New York Times about a tradition at Oberlin, the monthly Organ Pump. See my first post of it from 2014. The article here contains an interesting interactive video that’s short and a lot of fun.

“It’s 1 a.m. on a Friday and a few hundred Oberlin College students are sprawled on the floor. This is the moment they’ve been waiting for all night. It’s why they rushed the stage. The floor begins to rumble and shake beneath them.”

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Staccato Touch on the Organ

Staccato Touch on the Organ

Take a look at organist education in 1931 in context of the instruments from that time. While organists should always listen to the responsiveness of the organs they are playing, it is of interest to note what a teacher in England at the time was thinking.

Stay subscribed to hear when my restoration of his “Caprice” is announced.

Here is the full-size article.

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Preserving A Legacy

You are providing a fantastic service.  There are organ pieces I have been looking for for many years.  I had found a few of them, but the copies were so beat up I couldn’t read them.

It seems that once a publisher goes through a printing and there are not many requests for the music, it goes out of print, or the publishing company folds or is sold to another company who then throws the originals out. What you are doing is preserving a legacy that needs to be preserved.  Your copies are beautifully printed on good quality paper.  Keep up the good work. Many thanks.

—Pennsylvania, USA

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