What's some of your favorite organ repertoire?
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    A question for all the organists out there: I'm looking for some more repertoire to learn right now, especially pieces that are usable as postludes or preludes, so...

    What's some of your favorite organ pieces that you've learned, especially pieces that are on the less famous side? (Like, hidden gems that you've discovered!)
    Or of the more famous pieces, which would you say are essential to learn?

    (I'm asking this because I think this would be a good place to exchange ideas of pieces we've discovered that are well-worth it to learn, including those that might be outside the main canon of repertoire that everyone "has to" learn. eg, you needn't mention Widor's Toccata...)

    For example, I've just discovered Lynnwood Farnam's Toccata on O Filii et Filiae

    Any other suggestions?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    Most things by Franck and Vierne. I rarely play German Baroque. I like it, but in small doses. The instruments in vogue for those German Baroque composers tend to grate on my ears, as well.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,697
    Do you like early keyboard music? Frescobaldi, Banchieri, Fischer, for instance? I have a bunch as PDFs if you are interested. I just arranged Barber's Adagio for organ. It is very accurate to his original score and a bit challenging for peds if you are up to it. I also arranged Elgars Nimrod recently for org and flugelhorn but would be easy to do on organ alone. I also have bach's ricercari from his musical offering (6 voice fugue) as a PDF. You cannot get anything better than Bach for the organ. Don't listen to Charles. (lol)


    What is your nationality and who are your favorite composers for the organ?
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    Me? My ancestors were from the Austro-Hungarian empire on one side of my family. The other side was from Scotland and has been in the East Tennesse area for at least 200 years. I am Byzantine, not Roman Catholic, but love French Baroque and Romantic organ literature. English compositions are not bad, either.

    Bach? He was Protestant, wasn't he? LOL. I just practiced "Nun Komm, Der Heiden Heiland" for Advent. Also a Reger setting of the same. I like Bach, as well, but on more musical instruments than the shrieking trackers popular in the U.S. since the 60s. The local AGO leadership seems to favor North German music on a Richards, Fowkes & Co. instrument at a local Presbyterian church. I always stay home for those chapter meetings. I can't stand that wretched instrument. LOL.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,697

    I figured you would probably be a Romantic. Personally, I don't care for that period at all.

    My mother's side is Wagner, but there's no way to know if we have any ties to that unfortunate ancestry. If there is, I am only hoping my musical contribution to the Church will bring at least a pittance of recompense for the horrors RW brought upon humanity through his ungodly works.

    As far as organs go, I have played Flentrop (including the one at Duke), Andover, Wilhelm, Rieger, Taylor and Boody, Fritts, Fisk, Jardine, and more. IMHO, those are what an organ IS. No comparison. But, to each his own I guess.

    I am wondering what offends your taste in the AGO performances? Are they using too many mixtures? Is it voiced incorrectly? Please explain.

    Bach? He may have been a Protestant, but his organ music ports over to the Catholic church in perfect order.

    Ders No Vords, Chalz!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    The AGO performances? The organ is supposed to be voiced like a Schnitger, but the building makes the tone somewhat harsh. There's a peculiar ceiling design that's not kind to the tonality of the instrument. In my own city, there are numerous Schantz instruments, some fairly large. A couple of Aeolian Skinners, which are nice. A new Schoenstein in Nashville which I have heard, and like. It's about 4 hours away, so I don't hear it often. There is one Taylor and Boody in town which is not bad, also an Andover which sounds pretty good. There's a von Beckerath which I don't like. So you can tell my preferences in organs can tend toward American Classic and more Romantically voiced instruments. I think I will stick with French Catholic music and leave Arp and his legions to the Protestants. I often wondered if the people behind the organ reform movement were the same ones who reformed the liturgy. ;-)
  • kevinfkevinf
    Posts: 1,186
    As your local Tournemire aficionado, I heartily recommend the piece terminale from Office no. 51. Based on the Te Deum, it can be used at other times besides the last Sunday of the year. Other Tournemire postludes include the piece terminale for the Epiphany suite (no. 7) and the Assumption piece terminale (no. 35).

    I love Ned Rorem's Quaker Reader. Several movements that work as preludes include There is a Spirit That Delights to Do no Evil and A Secret Power. The rest of the suite is fun, but not useful for church.

    Gerald Near's A Triptych of Fugues is great music. The middle mvt. is good for preludes and the last mvt. makes for a good postlude . Its a fun romp. Near has a book of gregorian chant preludes that are lovely and not hard to learn.

    More later.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    Niels Wilhelm Gade (1817 - 1890) (pronounced HAH-deh ??)
    Drei Tonstucke fur Orgel (Opus 22 No 1 "Moderato") (1851)

    Theodore Dubois (1837-1924)
    Offertoire (Douze Pieces Nouvelles # 10) (1892)
    http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/listings/2000/2026/ (timestamp == 0:48:44)
    http://pipedreams.publicradio.org/listings/2001/0113/ (timestamp == 0:13:23)

    Theodore Dubois (1837-1924)
    Grand Choeur (Douze Pieces # 12) (1886)
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    Thank you so much to those of you who are being very specific! This is very helpful!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    I am assuming you know about Le Livre d'orgue de Montréal which is free and can be downloaded and printed.


    I find these small pieces fit nicely into Sunday morning masses - not surprising, since that's what they were originally written for. But that also assumes you even like French Baroque/Classical organ literature.
  • CharlesW,

    Thanks so much for the link. I LOVE French Baroque/Classical and had no idea about that site.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    The link has been posted on this forum before by others. Those little compositions are wonderful. I was like a kid at Christmas when I saw that collection. I plan to play all of them, eventually.
  • Speaking of French Baroque organ literature, a good book to purchase if you like the style is the Organ Works of Nicolas Gigault. Its a lot of repertoire for a good price.

    I got my copy through Sheet Music Plus: http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/Complete-Organ-Works/1574436
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Aha! Just remembered the book for you, Mara: "The Practical Organist" by Guilmant! It's all very accessible for a congregation/audience, but not all easy and of varying length. There's some short versets, but also some large voluntaries, so you can find something for large feasts or every-week use!
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    Thanks for the Gigault recommendation. I don't have that but will look for it.

    Gavin, do you have any info on who published the Guilmant? I would like to have that one, too.

    I am also searching for a copy of the Grand Choeur in B-flat by Dubois, thanks to eft's recommendation. I will be e-mailing a sheet music company in Nashville tomorrow morning to see if they can find any of these.
    Thanked by 1eft94530
  • All of the organ works of Dubois, including some rare ones, are free downloads on the Sibley Music Library. Most popular are in the 6 pieces and 12 pieces.

  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    It says restricted access. Do you know of a way around that?
  • https://urresearch.rochester.edu/searchCollectionItems.action?query=dubois&collectionId=25

    This took me right in...to the Dubois page, let me check to see if there is a portal you have to go through...

    If that link asked for ID or anything try this:

    Main Page

    Choose ---> Music Resources -----> Sibley Resources ----> Sibley Digitized Material ---> Then enter Dubois into the SEARCH box and choose SEARCH.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Charles: My edition is a combined printing of all 4 books by Dover. You can find it on the OHS Catalog for a reasonable price. Much of it, but not all, is available here: http://imslp.org/wiki/L'Organiste_Pratique_(Guilmant,_Alexandre)

    I still recommend the book.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    Thanks, Gavin. I am an OHS member, but often forget to check the catalog.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    It says restricted access. Do you know of a way around that?

    Dubois Douze Pieces (1886)
    Dubois Douze Pieces Nouvelles (1892)

    T T Noble edition
    http://sibley.lib.rochester.edu/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?v1=29&ti=1,29&Search_Arg=noble, t tertius&Search_Code=NAME_&CNT=75&PID=JMg-ZFCbT3DEZXiznBQbPUW0Pf&SEQ=20091122204745&SID=4
    the edition was published in 1949 (and therefore still under copyright),
    the hardcopy is noncirculating,
    the scan is only for those on campus.

    Dare I ask ...
    why do you want only some of the pieces (6/24),
    and after they have been edited by T T Noble,
    when you already have access to the complete earlier editions?

    For those who want to learn to find their way around a good resource
    instead of blindly clicking links provided in this discussion ...

    The Sibley Music Library
    mouse over "Music Resources"
    mouse over "Sibley Resources"
    mouse over "Sibley Digitized Material"

    When searching, always be prepared to enter spellings with the accents to get different/additional info.
    For example, notice the difference between searching for {{dubois}} versus searching for {{theodore dubois}}
    You will notice some hits are now missing because each of the following are different

    It will give you only "what you actually asked for" NOT "what you meant to ask for".
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577

    The German organists have composed pieces based on the melodies of chorales,
    forming a particularly rich organ literature;
    shouldn't we do likewise with our Catholic melodies?

    Guilmant has books that I have mentioned in other Forum Discussions:
    L'organiste Liturgiste (Liturgique) // The Liturgical Organist (ten volumes)
    L'organiste Pratique // The Practical Organist (twelve volumes)
    Noels (Opus 60)

    You can get them at

    A useful website, including Opus indexes
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    pieces that are usable as postludes or preludes

    Here are two collections I have found useful.
    The problem with Kevin Mayhew Publishers is that they seem to "churn" their portfolio of pieces.
    Collections are created and then destroyed, and (some of?) the pieces are recycled into a different collection.
    You have to be careful and look diligently at the content list of one book against another.
    Occasionally they change the cover artwork (e.g., Miscellany), so again, check the contents list.
    I will update their entries with additional purchase locations.


    100 Pieces For Organ: Processionals and Recessionals
    I really like this collection.
    All late twentieth century (last two? decades) pieces from England (and Australia?).

    An Organ Miscellany
    This has some older (Victorian) music, and new stuff.
    I am suspicious that some pieces are are either "renamed" or "excerpted".
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    I have a number of the Mayhew editions. I think you are right about pieces being excerpted. Some of them are much shorter than the originals. Some of the same pieces do appear in multiple books.
  • BruceL
    Posts: 1,072
    You might consider looking at the works of Jean-Adam Guilain if you favor French Baroque music. I think his music (a few Magnificat suites) is every bit as inspired as the Couperin Masses, and maybe even a little more original.

    You might spring for CD sheet music's French Organ Music collection. Cheap CD and you print your own music. LOTS of good stuff on there, if you don't mind the engraving being great or music being in the most current editions.

    What are you playing on? I tend to really suit my repertoire a lot to the organ I have at that time to use. I didn't play hardly any Bach when I was at a 1926 Austin because it was a beast to register anything clearly in the free works.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    I play on a 1953 Schantz at church, and a Rodgers digital at home. The Schantz isn't at its best on German Baroque, but it can be done. It handles the French literature better. I enjoy Bach, but play more French Romantic and Baroque literature than anything else. That's a preference more than a condition imposed by the instrument. I saw some of the CD sheet music collections in the OHS catalog. I have been relatively good this year, so maybe I deserve one or two as a Christmas present to myself - as good an excuse for buying them as any. ;-)
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    If you like B-ch, I endorse Johann Gottfried Walther. (When I finish playing one of his pieces, my cantor will often ask "Was that one by your guy?') Some of his easier pieces, including those for manuals only, are in the Edition Peters 80 Chorale Preludes by German Masters. But his collection of complete chorale preludes includes some more challenging works.
  • JL
    Posts: 171
    Granted, I'm not an organist, but for out-of-the-way good (and free) stuff, I recommend the Werner Icking Music Archive at http://www.icking-music-archive.org. Music is categorized by composer, and the search function is a little odd, but if you do some digging you'll find some wonderful treasures. Just stay away from Pagani's "Polka per dopo la Messa"--proof that bad taste existed far before VII. ;)

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
  • I came upon this today as I was looking for some downloadable Advent music. I've gotten in the habit of emailing myself the links and saving them in my email until I need them. Lots of organ music to go with appropriate feasts and Sundays.

    Thanked by 1mgearthman
  • francis
    Posts: 10,697
    I downloaded almost all the organ music on that site. What a resource.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    Thanks, ref_scott. I hadn't seen this one before.
  • Francis

    I'm attempting to do the same, although I'm waiting for a bunch on there to become PD.
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    This is quite an interesting facebook page that I happened upon tonight...I'm not sure if everyone can access it, or how long the information will be available, but there's lots here....

  • JDE
    Posts: 588
    You can also find quite a lot of free French (and other) organ music at this site:


    The site is in French, but you don't need to understand a whole lot beyond basic musical terms.

    NB. "Télécharger" = French for "download." I can't fault their Académie Française for not making it "download-er" or "le download."
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    (but the *point* of this whole thread is to list *specific* organ pieces...there are plenty of other resources and threads which give websites that have large collections for those who have more of any idea of what they are looking for...)
  • Robsc
    Posts: 20
    Check out the Hymn and Chant settings by, Peter Pender Stearns. He has a very unique harmonic and contrapuntal language. I'll try to find a link to his website and post it.
  • Robsc
    Posts: 20
    Here it is:

  • BachLover2BachLover2
    Posts: 330
    flor peeters wrote a nice collection that can be played completely on the manuals.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,697
    Can we see and/or hear scores?
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    maybe we should start another thread where people can list entire *collections* or *websites* of pieces that they like...but some of us don't really have time to sort through all of that and really would like SPECIFIC pieces (as I've mentioned several times now...)

    but...uh...thanks to everyone who is trying to be helpful...
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    Franciscus Florentinus (Flor) Peeters (1903-1986)

    Aria (1945) (opus 51)
    3 pages, 5 minutes

    Festival Voluntary (1957) (opus 87)
    3 pages, 2+ minutes
    scroll down to Track 24 (60 second sample gives m1 through m26 of m53 total)
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    Because it is approaching June and Grade School Graduation time,
    I am remembering a volume that does NOT have the obligatory piece,
    but does include excellent items, three of which are identified here.

    The score ...

    Elgar Organ Album Book 1

    The pieces ...

    Cantique (1912) (Opus 3 No 1)
    5 pages
    timestamp (h:mm:ss) == 0:25:00
    This is Elgar's organ arrangement of his Intermezzo #1 (adagio) for Wind Quintet (1879).

    Carillon (1914) (opus 75)
    9 pages
    timestamp (h:mm:ss) == 0:11:55
    Arranged for organ by Hugh Blair (1864-1932), organist at Worcester Cathedral.
    At Sibley Music there is a PDF piano score with the poetry ...

    Imperial March (1897) (Opus 32)
    9 pages
    timestamp (h:mm:ss) == 0:08:05
    Written for orchestra, composed for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria (1819-r1837-1901)
    at whose death it was said had a worldwide empire on which the sun never set;
    it was arranged for organ by Sir George Clement Martin (1844-1916)
    who in 1888 succeeded Sir John Stainer (1840-1901) as organist of Saint Paul Cathedral.

    I explicitly provide the "ram" soundfiles as they are currently un-linked from their respective webpages
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    Could you be a little more specific as to the type or period of organ music you want to play? For example, I rarely play German Baroque organ works because I basically don't like them. Are you looking for works suitable for mass, concert/recital pieces, etc.?
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    anybody mention francks prelude fugue and variation? its all great but the prelude is a great meditation.
  • don roy
    Posts: 306
    sorge organ trios. very very easy baroque preludes.
  • Robsc
    Posts: 20
    Okay here's something. I just learned this for the first Sunday in May. Lynn Trapp's setting of Regina Caeli, very affective and beautiful.


    I think it can be downloaded. Trapp is a composer that I enjoy playing.
  • eft94530eft94530
    Posts: 1,577
    I have had this on my "explore" list for a long while.
    This afternoon I discovered some online soundfiles
    and am motivated to start on them this afternoon!

    Just had to share with all of you (organists) the excitement ...

    Charles Valentin Alkan (1813-1888)

    Treize prieres (Thirteen Prayers) (Opus 64) (1866)
    1. Andantino, sol majeur
    2. Moderato, la majeur
    3. Poco adagio, mi mineur
    4. Moderatamente, si bemol majeur
    5. Adagio, fa majeur
    6. Moderato, re majeur
    7. Maestoso, la mineur
    8. Deus Sebaoth, si b majeur
    9. Doucement, mi majeur
    10. Assez lentement, si bemol
    11. Andantino, mi majeur
    12. Allegretto, fa majeur
    13. Largement et majestuesement, sol majeur

    Online PDF Score ...

    Online Soundfiles ...
    (PDF score page) (starting timestamps) ... [approximate durations]
    (p 2) (0:00) Prayer 1 [2:45]
    (p 5) (2:50) Prayer 2 [2:25]
    (p 8) (5:15) Prayer 3 [4:30]
    (p 15) (0:00) Prayer 4 [2:45]
    (p 20) (2:50) Prayer 5 [5:00]
    (p 24) (0:00) Prayer 6 [4:20]
    (p 29) (0:00) Prayer 7 [6:45]
    (p 46) (6:50) Prayer 8 [2:30]
    (p 51) (0:00) Prayer 9 [3:30]
    (p 57) (3:35) Prayer 10 [4:40]
    (p 61) (0:00) Prayer 11 [4:25]
    (p 67) (4:30) Prayer 12 [3:40]
    (p 72) (0:00) Prayer 13 [4:20]
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,943
    eft, that looks interesting! I will look into those. I enjoy playing most anything by Franck. I like the Vierne 3 improvisations, particularly the Marche Episcopale. The Widor Finale to Organ Symphony #8 is one of my all time favorites. Anything from the Montreal Organ Book is great to play.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,697
    eft... while i don't particularly care for romantic, these are quite interesting! i might try my hand (and foot) at a few. thnx.