Pedals in action!
Pedals in action!

The Best Feet Forward #1427

…putting the pedal to the metal, these compositions make extraordinary use of the organists feet, which often play the music all by themselves.

Hour 1

VINCENT LÜBECKPraeludium in CFriedhelm Flamme (1737 Treutmann/St. George’s Church, Grauhof bei Goslar) cpo CD-777.198

DIETERICH BUXTEHUDEPraeludium in C, BuxWV 137Ton Koopman (1692 Schnitger/Ludgerikirche, Norden, Germany) Novalis 150048

ARNOLD SCHLICKAscendo ad Patrem --Pierre Froidebise (1725 F. C. Schnitger/St. Laurenskerk, Alkmaar, The Netherlands) Nonesuch 71051

J. S. BACHPrelude & Fugue in D, BWV 532Bernhard Klapprott (1761 J-A Silbermann/Arlesheim Cathedral) Aeolus 10761

BACHPedal Exercitium, BWV 598Kevin Bowyer (1987 Marcussen/St. Hans Church, Odense, Denmark) Nimbus 5734/5

BACHKommst du nun, Jesu, BWV 650George Ritchie (1981 Brombaugh/Southern Adventist College, Collegedale, TN) Raven 400

DUDLEY BUCK: 2 Studies in Pedal Phrasing, Op. 28 (Nos. 8 & 14) –James Hammann (1866 Hook/St, John’s Anglican Parish, Quincy, IL) Raven 916

JEAN LANGLAIS:   Epilogue, fr Hommage a Frescobaldi --Ann Labounsky (1949 Aeolian-Skinner/Methuen Music Hall, MA) Voix du Vent Volume 7

RAFFAELE MANARIConcert Etude on Salve ReginaDavid Baskeyfield (Aeolian-Skinner/Washington National Cathedral, DC) Pipedreams Archive (r. 10/24/10)

Hour 2

VINCENT LÜBECK:  Praeludium in FMichel Chapuis (1730 Klapmeyer/St. Nicholas Church, Altenbruch) Astree CD-7782

BACHToccata in F, BWV 540James Kibbie (1755 Silbermann-Hildebrandt/Dresden Cathedral, Germany) BlockM Records 2007

THALBEN-BALLVariations on a Theme by Paganini --Thomas Trotter (1834 Hill-2007 Mander/Town Hall, Birmingham, England) Regent DVD-001

NAJI HAKIM4 Etudes-Caprices for Pedal SoloIveta Apkalna (1987 Rieger/St. Martin’s Church, Wangen, Allgäu) Edition Hera CD-02117

VINCENT PERSICHETTISonatine for Pedals Alone, Op. 11 –Kyler Brown (1942 Aeolian-Skinner/ Church of St. Mary the Virgin, New York City) Gothic CD-49085

LEO SOWERBYPageantThomas Bara (2003 Reuter/St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Alexandria, LA) Raven 940


The history of the organ’s pedals and their use is adroitly explored in David Yearsley’s recent book, Bach’s Feet.  Many organists wear special shoes, and some of the fine-points of pedal technique are discussed in an online forum from the Latter Day Saints church.  You can watch Hector Olivera ‘sing’ with his feet, playing the Bach-Gounod setting of the Ave Maria with the melody in the pedals, watch Ken Cowan brilliantly play Sowerby’s Pageant, and delight in Cameron Carpenter's full-court-press rendition of Sousa's Stars and Strips Forever (an arrangement that might make Arnold Schlick smile!).