Garth C. Edmundson (b. 11 Apr 1892, Pennsylvania; d. 2 Apr 1971, New Castle, Pennsylvania) studied music in Pittsburgh, New York, London, Paris, and at the Leipzig Conservatory. His instructors were Harvey Gaul, Lynnwood Farnam, Joseph Bonnet, and Isidor Philipp. He was an organist, music teacher, and director of music in several churches and schools in western Pennsylvania. He composed hundreds of compositions for organ, including "Impression Gothiques," "Imagery in Tableaux," and his most famous piece, "Toccata Prelude on 'Vom Himmel hoch", which is still played quite frequently. He was awarded an Honorary doctorate degree – Doctor of Music, Westminster College, New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. In addition, he was a 32nd Degree Mason... ;-)
This is another gem that was completely unknown to me! It seems to have been inspired by Bach's "Jesu, joy of man's desiring", as you'll hear. The title is given as: "Fairest Lord Jesus" (Prelude-Pastorale on a XII Century Melody". However, I think this famous tune, which is a Silesian folk song dates from the 19th century. Anyone know for sure?
At any rate, this is a great little piece, and trickier than it sounds, since you have to play on 2 manuals together with the right hand. The composer's registration asks for a Clarinet on the Choir for the Left Hand, with Great Flutes at 8' & 4' for the "filigree", with Vox Humana and Strings for the hymntune. The Bätz does an amazing job of "replicating" these sounds. While the Touyzn of the Rugwerk may be slightly "rough", it does a fine job of it. The sound of this Vox Humana is obviously a little different from a 1930's EM Skinner Vox, but it works beautifully. I really enjoyed discovering this piece, which was originally published by J. Fischer & Bros. in 1938, and was included in the American Organ Music at a Glance collection. This is the most "modern" piece in Volume 1.