Gatty Sellars and the Grand Organ Recital

Gatty Sellars and the Grand Organ Recital

In 1915, Gatty Sellars began his return transcontinental recital tour in the United States. Since very few of us can remember this series of concerts, it is interesting to peruse a program from that time. Page 2 introduces him to the audience, though he “needs no introduction”! “The world famed English Organist-Composer needs no introduction on this, his fifth visit to the United Sates, this time to play for one of the leading New York Gramaphone Companies, who desired records of his performances.”

“His compositions published by no less than sixteen leading English, American and German firms are known the world over.” I have restored several of them, and I hope to find more.

Gatty Sellars Organ Music I’ve Restored

Of the items on his program, I offer a few but some are not in transcriptions by Sellars. They are worth examining, though. Notice he did not play Wagner but he did play Bach. The Fugue in B Minor was probably from the Prelude and Fugue in B Minor, BWV 544. I have not found his “An Evening Idyll” or “Cantilene Joyeuse” but hope to get them some day. You should notice that he will improvise a Storm (à la mode suisse) “when desired.” I understand that it was almost always “desired”! Below are the pieces I currently offer:

The Program

Concert Program 1

Concert Program 2

Concert Program 3

Concert Program 4

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New Party Recordings

New Party Recordings

I would like to announce three new recordings by John Apple of three of my restorations that previously had no recordings. He played them in the background of our New Year’s Party at Charlie Clayton’s house on his Rodgers 340. (Photo above is courtesy of Jack Moelmann because I didn’t have one of Charlie’s organ but they’re almost completely the same.) We were a combined group from Metrolina Theatre Organ Society and Carolina Theatre Preservation Society.

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Goodbye, Organist Entertains

Radio 2 Axes The Organist Entertains after Almost 49 Years

Here is sad news for listeners of this long-running radio program. Nigel Ogden is the current host, succeeding Robin Richmond. I have placed a link on my website to the program for over a decade. Enjoy it while you can!

The Organist Entertains, BBC Radio 2’s long-running music show, is to be taken off the airwaves after almost 49 years. The half-hour programme showcasing recordings and live performances of a variety of organs currently airs at 11pm on Tuesdays but will end when the station’s wide-ranging schedule re-shuffle comes into effect on May 14th.

The Organist Entertains
on BBC Radio2

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Martin Luther and His Famous Cradle Song

Martin Luther and His Famous Cradle Song

The carol “Away in a Manger” had its earliest known publication in the “Children’s Corner” section of the Chicago-based journal The Christian Cynosure on March 2, 1882. The anonymous two-verse poem was under the heading “Luther’s Cradle Song” with the description: “The following hymn, composed by Martin Luther for his children, is still sung by many of the German mothers to their little ones.”

It is possible that this unfounded attribution to Martin Luther was made due to the coming 400th anniversary of Luther’s birth that would soon occur in 1883.

The tune used by Gaul in his organ piece is that of the song “Flow Gently, Sweet Afton,” composed in 1837 by Jonathan Edwards Spilman, a lawyer and Presbyterian minister from Kentucky, set to the 1791 poem by Robert Burns. The earliest known publication of an adaptation of this tune for “Away in a Manger” is in the collection Childhood Songs, edited by Mira and Mabel Rowland, published in 1898 (see below).

Gaul dedicated his piece, “To Martin Luther’s Christmas Carol,” to Max Karl Seifert (1888-1967), Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra librarian (from 1926), violinist, organist and percussionist.

— D John Apple
michaelsmusicservice.com

Gaul.ToMartinLuthersChristmasCarol.html

 

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Listening to the Ballet Egyptien Played on the Organ

Listening to the Ballet Egyptien Played on the Organ

I posted on January 1 the page with the restoration of Fred Feibel’s arrangement of Luigini’s classic suite, Ballet Egyptien. I could not find a recording of Feibel’s arrangement, so I posted Part 1 played by Reginald Foort in his own version. Now, thanks to Lew Williams, I am pleased to add all four parts played by Quentin Maclean in his own version. Thanks, Lew!

These recordings, one on a Wurlitzer and one on a Compton, will give you an idea of how the music can sound on an organ. Although theatre organists such as Foort and Maclean are comfortable making their own arrangements, I think you will find Fred Feibel’s version absolutely effective.

Luigini-Feibel.BalletEgyptien.html

Alexandre Luigini, 1887

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Restored Organ Music of 2017

Restored Organ Music of 2017

Here is a list of the music I restored during 2017. Looking back on these is a real pleasure for me. I hope you found some of them useful and enjoyable to play. In any case, give these titles a quick browse and see if you missed anything you or your students would be interested in.

January

1. CANTILENE NUPTIALE, by Herbert Fricker
2. CASCADES IN THE SUNLIGHT, by Howard Savage
3. THE BELLS, by William Price
4. VARIATIONS ON EIN’ FESTE BURG, by Henry Cutler

February

1. APHRODITE, by Ralph Kinder
2. DEEP RIVER, by C A J Parmentier
3. SONATE CROMATIQUE, by A L Barnes
4. DANSE MACABRE, by Saint-Saens, arranged by Clarence Dickinson and Charlotte Mathewson Lockwood

March

1 & 2. FAMOUS COMPOSITIONS AND TRANSCRIPTIONS, by Melchiorre Mauro-Cottone
3. EPIPHANY, by Garth Edmundson
4. CAPRICE, by Cuthbert Harris

April

1. TOCCATA GIOVANE, by Bruce Prince-Joseph
2. ARPA NOTTURNA, by Pietro Yon
3. LARGO FROM THE SYMPHONY, “FROM THE NEW WORLD,” by Antonin Dvorak, transcribed by Caspar Koch
4. PIECES POUR ORGUE, OPUS 20, by Joseph Callaerts

May

1. ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE ORGAN, by James Pearce
2. RAPSODIA ITALIANA, by Pietro Yon
3. AGNUS DEI by Georges Bizet, transcribed by Gatty Sellars
4. NOBODY KNOWS THE TROUBLE I’VE SEEN, by Clarence Kohlmann

June

1. AGNUS DEI, by Seth Bingham
2. THE ORGANIST’S JOURNAL, published by William E Ashmall
3. MARCHE PONTIFICALE by Rene Becker
4. OVERTURE TO LIGHT CAVALRY, by Franz von Suppe, transcribed by Edwin Evans

July

1. FANCIES, by Gatty Sellars
2. PIECES POUR ORGUE, OPUS 23, by Joseph Callaerts
3. ANDANTES AND ADAGIOS, VOL III, by Ludwig van Beethoven, arranged by Julius Andre
4. PRELUDE TO “THE BLESSED DAMOZEL,” by Claude Debussy, transcribed by Palmer Christian

August

1. TWO SETS OF VARIATIONS FOR PEDAL STUDY, by Eugene Thayer
2. TWO CANONS ON A CHORAL THEME, by August Haupt
3. MARCHE OFFICIALE DES PARACHUTISTES BELGES, by Pierre Leemans, arranged by Allan Ontko
4. OLD FOLKS AT HOME, by Stephen Foster, arranged by Wenham Smith

September

1. SUMMER FANCIES, by Rossetter Cole
2. ORGAN RECITAL PIECES, by Anton Vodorinski
3. MARCH OF THE TOYS, by Oscar Schminke
4. OVERTURE TO PROMETHEUS, by Ludwig van Beethoven, arranged by Samuel Warren

October

1. PAVANE (pour une infante défunte), by Maurice Ravel, arranged by Charles Cronham
2. FESTIVAL PRELUDE ON EIN’ FESTE BURG, by William Faulkes
3. MARCHE CHAMPÊTRE and THE CALM OF NIGHT, by Andrew J Boex
4. TOCCATA IN D, by Ralph Kinder

November

1. PRELUDE ON “DIVINUM MYSTERIUM,” by Candlyn
2. THÈME VARIÉ, by Guy Ropartz
3. GRAND CHOEUR MILITAIRE, by Gottfried
4. CARILLON, by William Faulkes

December

1. PETITE MARCHE CHAMPÊTRE DE NOËL by Robert Leech Bedell
2. IN BETHLEHEM’S TOWN, by Carl Mueller
3. GRAND CHOEUR NO 2, by Alfred Hollins
4. TOCCATA ON “HOW BRIGHTLY SHINES,” by Garth Edmundson

As always, I appreciate your input. Many of these pieces have been restored because of your suggestions. Some of you who play for churches and concerts have used these, and some of you who teach have included some of these in your suggested titles for students. I really appreciated you all! Not every student should play these pieces — they are not part of the the standard repertoire, but they do provide the spice that is necessary to attract an audience! I encourage you to suggest some of these American pieces to your students who have the technical ability to play them. And, as always, please continue to send your suggestions to me!

 

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Bedell’s Noel, Gaul’s Manger, Callaerts’s Op 28, and Fred’s Egyptian Ballet

Bedell’s Noel, Gaul’s Manger, Callaerts’s Op 28, and Fred’s Egyptian Ballet

Happy New Year! I just couldn’t fit all the great Christmas music into the last two months, so I am including two more Christmas pieces in the January announcement. (Be sure to remember the Candlyn Divinum Mysterium from November, the most requested piece of 2016-17.) January contains another volume from the great Belgian organist, Joseph Callaerts, and a terrific transcription from Fred Feibel.

ORGAN SHEET MUSIC

1. NOËL WITH VARIATIONS by Robert Leech Bedell. This, to the best of my knowledge, is an original Noel with the variations. The three movements go quickly and are suited for concert use or perhaps a postlude.
Bedell.NoelWithVariations.html

2. TO MARTIN LUTHER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL, by Harvey Gaul. He wrote this somewhat dramatic setting of “Away In A Manger” that is all but unknown. The tune is from “Flow Gently, Sweet Afton.”
Gaul.ToMartinLuthersChristmasCarol.html

3. PIÈCES POUR ORGUE, OPUS 28, by Joseph Callaerts. These pieces are the first three from Series Two. They are suitable for service or concert use. The publishing style from this period was to omit accidentals to notes in a different octave in the same staff; I have added these so as to make them in line with today’s expectations.
Callaerts.PiecesOpus28.html

4. BALLET EGYPTIEN, by Alexandre Luigini, arranged by Fred Feibel. You may be scratching your head now at reading the name of Feibel for something that’s not popular theatre organ, but he had much more to offer than most people know. This four-movement suite is a lot of fun and you may recognize it from the many organ performances, and some may recognize it from playing it in high school or college orchestras.
Luigini-Feibel.BalletEgyptien.html

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.
MonthlyBundles/201801.html

Cheers!
Michael

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This Attractive Short Number

Holiday Musings on Advertising

Seen on the back page of a Theodore Presser organ piece from 1914:

This Attractive Short Number
will be found suitable for numerous special occasions in church work. Although quite simple, it can be made very effective by reason of the contrast of the opening and final passages with the main lento theme.

Language like that is completely gone in today’s advertising. The sentence structure is far more involved that what is produced today. It seems to me that the ad copy writer is trying to communicate with the church organist who wants good music but also simple music. In today’s writing, it would probably be “for those with less proficient keyboard skills” or some such.

At the top of the back page is this heading which I like:

Excerpts from Effective Pipe Organ Numbers
Medium Grade Selections by Foremost Composers

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Christmas March to Bethlehem in a Great Chorus that Brightly Shines

This December’s offering consists of three Christmas pieces to help put you in the mood plus an energetic Grand Choeur by Hollins for New Year’s. One of the Christmas pieces is my first restoration of music written by Carl Mueller. I hope you will enjoy it and add it to your seasonal repertoire.

ORGAN SHEET MUSIC

1. PETITE MARCHE CHAMPÊTRE DE NOËL by Robert Leech Bedell. His full English title is “Rustic March of the Villagers at Christmas,” and it was written for an AGO chapter back in 1942. If you need a short children’s processional for Christmas, this is it.
Bedell.PetiteMarcheChampetre.html

2. IN BETHLEHEM’S TOWN, by Carl Mueller. Mueller based this appealing music on two well-known tunes, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Fairest Lord Jesus.” It goes through lots of keys and textures, giving impressions of Bethlehem from Bible times.
Mueller.InBethlehemsTown.html

3. GRAND CHOEUR NO 2, by Alfred Hollins. This big and lively piece is in three and I think it’s perfect for New Year’s and January. Visit the page to hear a professional recording by another blind organist, David Liddle. Hollins is always worth the work!
Hollins.GrandChoeurNo2.html

4. TOCCATA ON “HOW BRIGHTLY SHINES,” by Garth Edmundson. His “Vom Himmel Hoch” (1937) is his most performed piece, and this toccata from 1955 is related in style to it. It is indicated for use on Christmas and Epiphany.
Edmundson.ToccataOnHowBrightlyShines.html

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. ** Because this month’s bundle weighs less than usual, the shipping charge is reduced! ** 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.
MonthlyBundles/201712.html

Cheers!
Michael

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A Late November Air (American)

A Late November Air (American)

As many of us continue to prepare for Advent and Christmas, here’s a little break for us. Just relax, and let Christopher Marks play the Variations on Stephen Foster’s famous “American Air.” It’s from 2014, and Flagler’s efforts can serve to remind you of the long-standing programs at Chautauqua — you see, Flagler held the post there for 17 years. The outstanding organist, Jared Jacobsen, holds that position now.

Flagler.VariationsOnAnAmericanAir.html

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