World Water Day 2017

World Water Day 2017

In honor or World Water Day, March 22, 2017, I would like to offer some of the pieces I’ve restored that relate to water.

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David Rumsey Died Last February

David Rumsey Died Last February

David Rumsey died from cancer on the 12th of February this year. His website,, will be maintained as a resource.

David was supportive of John and my efforts in restoring worthy organ music. There was no greater champion for the organ than David. Read my post from November 2011. And when I announced in February 2012 the Clarence Eddy ‘Old Hundred,’ I wrote this in the announcement:

2. FESTIVAL PRELUDE AND FUGUE ON “OLD HUNDRED,” by Clarence Eddy (1851-1937). While preparing the article for this piece, John Apple told me that Eddy recorded an organ roll of it. Of course, I contacted the expert in Welte organ rolls, David Rumsey; you may remember reading his work in The Diapason. David stepped forward and worked his magic, producing a recording — the only one — of Welte Roll #1654 on the “Britannic” organ in Switzerland. His stunning recording of this piece played frequently by Eddy is on the web page as are links to the player organ and museum. You really should hear this!

He will be missed by us in the greater organ world as a source of knowledge and as a friend and supporter. Please post any stories and memories below.

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Albert Ketèlbey and Reginald Foort

Albert Ketèlbey and Reginald Foort

If you were to ask for two iconic British composers who were organists, the top answer might well be these two giants. I am pleased to offer a recording by Foort from 1929 of Ketèlbey’s “The Sacred Hour” on a small Wurlitzer in London, England. This Style F played by Foort was the same model we had in our Carolina Theatre in Charlotte, North Carolina. Sadly, the group attempting to rebuild our theatre has no interest in replacing the organ. I offer several recordings of this Ketèlbey classic, and I hope you enjoy them.


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One of the Best

One of the Best

I received a wonderful new recording of the A L Barnes Triple Fugue in G Minor to share with you. It’s by Jillian Gardner on the big Petty-Madden at Baylor University in Texas. You can visit the page for the restoration via the link below and look, read, and listen there, or you can watch Jillian in action in the video below. Barnes never had it so good! Thank you, Jillian, and thanks to our researcher for Barnes and your teacher, Steve Best!


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One of the Worst

One of the Worst

When looking for the best possible originals from which to make a restoration, I come across some with uneven quality. For this transcription, which runs 22 pages, I rejected it. There was just too much wrong with it. It was one of the last print runs made from worn-out plates and printed with little care. I’ve provided three examples below; perhaps you have music that looks like this! Finally, I requested John Apple to get me a better printing to use and then return, and he has found a library willing to loan theirs; I hope it’s in good condition.

Part of the plate was worn, to the left of the clefs, and part was fine. The unevenness is a very time consuming thing to repair. Also, not the paper was not properly registered as seen in the curving of staff lines. There was this kind of problem on every page!

Here, the staff lines are straight, but there is unevenness in the shape and ink coverage of the noteheads. Many of these would need to be repaired or replaced. See the half notes on the right in the right hand and pedal and compare them with the left hand. Ugh.

I think you can see the problems in this example. My guess is that the paper was improperly loaded and slid a bit as the plate was pressed to it. But this is seriously defective. This problem occurred in other places as well; the whole line would need to be replaced. I hope the new copy comes in the next month.

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For the Beginner at Improvising

For the Beginner at Improvising

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.

I have announced my restoration of Harris’s famous “Caprice”!

Here is the full-size article. Be sure to read the enlightening short piece on this page, “Tremolo with Full Organ.”

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Helping Upcoming Young People with Organ

“Just wanted to tell you I appreciate your service. A young organist, who is a friend of mine, was looking for a rare manuscript by Thomas (Fats) Waller of his arrangement of The Saint Louis Blues. You not only had a copy, but the historical data with it is nothing short of priceless. I am a retired organist, and since i am no longer active as a professional, I enjoy helping upcoming young people that are involved with organ instruction, in particular jazz and theater styles. I will be using your service in the future.” —Pennsylvania, USA

Classic Musical Instrument Co

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March Mauro-Cottone Melodies, Eccentric Edmundson Epiphany, & Cuthbert’s Crazy Caprice

After more than a year of working on the restoration of the two volumes of Mauro-Cottone’s music, I am proud to announce it for March. If you don’t know about him, I hope you will read the capsule biography (link on the page) to learn about the life of this great organist. Epiphany is a simple program piece by Edmundson, suitable for a student. The last selection for March is the often-played toccata by Cuthbert Harris.


1 & 2. FAMOUS COMPOSITIONS AND TRANSCRIPTIONS, by Melchiorre Mauro-Cottone. He was born in Italy and moved to the United States for his career. He was a substitute organist at age 13, graduated from conservatory with highest honors and appointed assistant professor at age 19. After emigrating in 1908, he played at several churches in New York City, including St Ignatius Loyola and substituting for Pietro Yon at St Francis Xavier. He was hired as chief organist by Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel and played at many of his theatres. He played on the largest church and theatre organs in New York and had a daily radio program from the Capitol Theatre.

He played in Philadelphia at Wanamaker’s and the Sesquicentennial Exposition on the huge Austin organ. King Victor Emmanuel awarded him the Cross of Chevalier of the Crown of Italy, he was president of the Society of Theatre Organists, he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree, he played at Carnegie Hall, he was organist for Central Synagogue, and he was organist for the New York York Philharmonic under Toscanini. His music is worth examination!

3. EPIPHANY, by Garth Edmundson. He uses three themes in this characteristic piece to present the story of the Magi as they travel through the desert towards Bethlehem. It was dedicated to Charles Courboin, and the pedal part is one note. 🙂

4. CAPRICE, by Cuthbert Harris. This is some of the happiest music you can possibly play! I offer three different recordings for you.

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 for your interest in this music. Please encourage your favorite organist to play some of this “decadent” music. 🙂


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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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