Organist Paul Carmona at St. Dunstan’s

Paul Carmona

It’s Springtime. But what can you do in the garden or where can you hike when it’s blustery and grey? Listen to some organ music! Readers know that if there’s an organ concert in the area, that is my first choice of activity, rain or shine. 

With rain threatening, St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Carmel, CA opened its doors on March 3, 2019 to host a wonderful afternoon of Organ Plus. The pews were comfortably full with curious listeners. The venue is accessible, pleasant nibbles are offered, and with the stop list in the program one can get to know the instrument. Organist Paul Carmona, an Episcopal priest from the San Diego area, kicked off the Saturday afternoon with a few pre-concert thoughts. Starting promptly at 3 PM, he moved to the organ bench to present “Making Music with Friends and By Friends.”

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Baroque, Organ

Organist Jonathan Dimmock at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church

Meditations with Organ

What better way to start off a New Year than with an afternoon of inspiring organ music? As part of the Organ Concert Series at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church (Carmel, CA), organist Jonathan Dimmock presented La Nativitédu Seigneur by Olivier Messiaen. Heard on Monday, January 7, 2019 the Dobson Opus 94 organ was heard in a fine example of French music of the mid-twentieth century.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Organ

Carmel Bach Festival showcases Andrew Arthur and Robert Farley in a Trumpet & Organ Concert


The Carmel Bach Festival’s official Opening Night is Saturday, July 14, at Sunset Center. However, on Monday, July 9 we had the privilege of hearing a pre-festival chamber concert at St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church featuring two of the festival’s most distinguished musicians, organist Andrew  Arthur and trumpeter Robert Farley — it was a revelation. Trumpeter, Robert Farley, played a baroque instrument and exhibited amazing technical mastery and stunningly gorgeous high notes. An organist friend of mine said of organist Andrew Arthur’s playing that he used all of the instrument’s possible sounds. What a succinct observation. Arthur is meticulously accurate in his playing and really knows how to use restraint, if needed, as the best way to bring out contrasting subtlety in an instrument. At St. Dunstan’s we were hearing the Church’s gorgeous two-year-old Dobson pipe organ, which sounds especially lovely in baroque compositions.

The program began with the Abblasen Fanfare for solo natural trumpet by Gottfried Reiche. Mr. Farley played in C and D, using the slider to give it a baroque D Tuning.  Next came a solo organ work by J.S. Bach, the Prelude and fugue in C major, BWV 545. This was our introduction on this occasion to Arthur’s masterful style of performing. There is a natural ease about his playing, as phrases and motives evolve naturally and beautifully at every step.

Next the two artists played Suite for Organ and Trumpet by VivianI. This is in an early Baroque style, and was composed between 1637-1693. It had some interesting variety in that it began with an Andante movement, followed by an allegro movement in the toccata and then closed with an adagio — ending quietly and with gorgeous sonority.

The Chorale Suite for Organ by Bernardo Pasquini featured five chorales, all based on Vater unser im Himmelreich. Next we were treated to an satisfying series of Chorale Preludes by Bach, Scheidemann, Buxtehude, Bohm and with one more Bach Chorale Prelude, BWV 90, concluding the set. What a gorgeous exploration of the registrations available to this instrument — truly wonderful baroque sounds.

Next the audience was treated to the the Suite for Organ and Trumpet by Fantini (1638-1693)” and a series of shorter works by Frescobaldi. Prior to the baroque the trumpet had been primarily used for military and ceremonial fanfares. Fantini’s Suite explored the instrument’s ability to produce beautiful solo-lines. Fantini was the “most excellent  trumpeter in all of Italy, ”  and during a visit to Rome in 1634 he developed these suites with Frescobaldi and played a concert with him. They are most satisfying pieces.

Andrew Arthur also added a piece by Nicolaus Bruins, which turned out to be a great surprise, for It was also extraordinarily witty. The concert ended with the Corelli Sonata in D Major for Strings and trumpet. Andrew Arthur arranged this piece by Corelli, and it brought a stunning conclusion to the concert with full organ and trumpet taking us “over the top.” It has amazing melody and was a full throated ending  to this concert, one of the first in the 81st season of the Carmel Bach Festival 2018.



Archived in these categories: Baroque, Organ

Organ Concert at St. Dunstan’s


On Sunday, April 15, 2018, St. Dunstan’s Episcocal Church in Carmel Valley presented the second of its 2018 Organ Concert Series. As mentioned before, the new pipe organ built by Dobson Pipe Organ Builders in Iowa, was designed for this small sanctuary only three years ago. The Church and its Rector Rob Fisher are eager to have concerts regularly so that audiences can hear this beautiful instrument.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Baroque, Organ

MPC String Ensemble with Organ Soloist Tiffany Bedner at the Carmel Mission

Organist Tiffany Bedner
So often I feel incredibly fortunate to live on the Monterey Peninsula. Not only for its physical beauty, but also for its creative and artistic energy. On Friday night  I attended the MPC String Ensemble concert conducted by David Dally at the Carmel Mission Basilica, and not surprisingly, the Carmel Mission’s beautiful ambiance significantly enhanced the music we were hearing. The program began with an organ and string setting of Bach’s famous D minor Toccata and Fugue, BWV 565. I had never heard it before in its arrangement for strings and organ, and this performance turned out to be powerful and compelling. The featured organist was Tiffany Bedner, the regular organist at the Mission. Her playing was clean and elegant, with the strings complimenting her sound. Together they gave us a very satisfying performance of this great work.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Chamber music, Monterey Peninsula College, Orchestral, Organ