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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Memories of Mary Gifford

Memories of Mary Gifford

  • Cantique dAmour, Strang
  • Wedding March, Nessler-Barrett
  • Heavens Heard Him PDF, Hammann
  • Rimembranza, Yon
  • Paraphrase on a Christmas Hymn, Faulkes
  • Madrigal, d’Antalffy
    Sportive Fauns, d’Antalffy
    Drifting Clouds, d’Antalffy
    Christmas Chimes, d’Antalffy
  • Lullaby, Macfarlane

Above are just a few of the varied titles that Mary, and Joseph Fitzer, her husband, bought over the many years I knew them. It was just today that I thought to myself that I bet Mary would like one of this month’s titles (the Browne Meditation), and then I remembered her passing much earlier this year. She was a strong supporter of what I do bringing back worthy organ music so that the younger organists can have at least a small chance of buying, learning, and playing the way most of us did.

I do value the great organists who continue to support me now, but there’s just something about the ones who were there from the beginning. Here’s to you, Mary!

Below is her obituary from  M J Murphy Funeral Home.

Mary Gifford, 73, of Kendall Park passed away on Wednesday, February 14, 2018.

Born in New York City, NY, she resided for most of her life in Rockaway Park in Queens, NY, and was a resident of Kendall Park since 1978. Mary loved spending time with her grandchildren. She was very adventurous and loved to travel and was a fan of the New York Jets. She was a teacher, a member of Greater Brunswick Area Womans Club, and was active in Christian Family Movement (CFM) at St. Augustine of Canterbury Church.

She is the daughter of the late Anthony and Elizabeth (McGrath) O’Connell, sister of the late Elizabeth Bielosky, and mother-in-law of the late Robert Martinazzi II. She is survived by her husband, of 48 years, John C. Gifford, daughter Allison Martinazzi, grandchildren Emily and Robbie Martinazzi, sisters-in-law Maureen Balas, Sharon Forkey, and Eileen O’Neil, and brother-in-law Tom and wife Charlotte Gifford.

Visitation will be on Monday, February 19, 2018 from 3-7pm at M.J. Murphy Funeral Home, 616 Ridge Road at New Road Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 10am at St. Augustine of Canterbury Church, 45 Henderson Road Kendall Park, NJ 08824. Burial will follow in Holy Cross Burial Park, South Brunswick.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Outreach Ministry of St. Augustine of Canterbury Church, 45 Henderson Road Kendall Park, NJ 08824.

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Looking Forward to These Pieces

“Thank you, Michael! I really look forward to these pieces. [September Bundle] Thanks for all the work you do to keep these great pieces alive.” —New Jersey, USA

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A Tale of Two Pieces

Morning, Greetings from Australia.

Sorry I haven’t used your website for some time but delighted to be able to purchase the Fantasia on Jerusalem the Golden and The Continental. Both have fond memories for me. The first, Jerusalem the Golden, a favourite hymn of my parish priest and the second a piece that on the urging of a friend, I tried to play on a three manual Wurlitzer in a Melbourne theatre forty years ago.

When I receive the pieces I will have the opportunity to invite both of the above friends to my place, and hopefully it will make me have a decent try at both pieces on my newly acquired Lowrey organ gifted from a now departed friend. Thank you for your regular emails and this wonderful service of providing music from past eras.


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Browne’s Meditation, Nevin’s Ewing Fantasia and Autumn Memories, and The Continental

October’s pieces were all selected by John Apple, and he has chosen a group that I never would’ve thought to put together. For me, each piece offers something interesting that the others don’t have. I offer the stories of each one on its page which I hope you visit. BTW, reading John’s research and my commentaries are always completely free and come with no obligation, as the lawyers say.


1. MEDITATION by Henry Eyre Browne. My guess is that you have never heard of this organist. Do you remember reading how Dudley Buck’s house, library, and organ in Chicago were destroyed by fire which ultimately became his reason for moving to Boston and then to the New York City area? Well, Browne took the job playing the 1873 Jardine at the Brooklyn Tabernacle the *year before* their fire destroyed the church, the organ, and the more than 4,000 pieces in his organ library housed onsite. Here is one of the first pieces published after that fire in 1889. Browne was indeed made of the “right stuff.” He was a respected teacher and the piece contains full pedalling indications. I include a short biography of Browne from 1891 which includes a recounting of the devastating fire of 1889.

2. FANTASIA ON JERUSALEM THE GOLDEN, by Alexander Ewing, transcribed by Gordon Balch Nevin. This is Nevin’s fantasia based on one of my favorite hymn tunes, Ewing, sung now to “Jerusalem the Golden.” Although listed by Oliver Ditson as a transcription, it is really an arrangement that could be considered as theme and variations. The text of this hymn is the translation by J M Neale of Bernard of Cluny’s Latin original. Should you need a hymn to go with a reading from Revelation, I heartily recommend Neale’s English version sung to this tune with which you could play this piece as the postlude. Revelation 21:1-2 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Of course, you could always sing Edgar Bainton. 🙂

3. AUTUMN MEMORIES, by Gordon Balch Nevin. This announcement comes out on October 1, and Autumn already started a couple of weeks ago — really, it began September 22! Nevin uses as his program motto a bit of Lord Tennyson. For those of you who love chimes and have them, this piece uses them, but Nevin stressed that they are not necessary for an effective performance.

4. THE CONTINENTAL, by Con Conrad, arranged by Charles Cronham. I am assuming that you all are still working on last month’s 1812 Overture :), and so John chose a fun little number first used in “The Gay Divorcee” from 1934. I offer a clever recording by Steve Schlessing. You can play this and take a break from Tchaikovsky!

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 restoration efforts.


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