Magazine article The American Organist

The Heavens Heard Him

Magazine article The American Organist

The Heavens Heard Him

Article excerpt

VERA B. HAMMANN AND MARIO C YONs THE HEAVENS HEARD HIM. 192 pp. Available as a PDF from Michaels musicservicc.com. $9; available from Amazon on Kindle, $9.99. Published in 1963, this is subtitled "A Novel Based on the life of Pietro Yon ( 1886-1943)." Mario was Pietro Yon's son and only child and, in 1951, the foreign trade consultant in the New York Regional Office of Price Stabilization. He had studied the organ, and in a student recital had played one of the Bach eight little preludes and fugues. Evidendy, he provided the information and Vera Hammann wrote the book in what T. Scott Buhrman, editor of The American Organist, described in a 1964 review as a "noticeably overdone style." The subject of the book is enough to whet the appetite of any organist, and, since the book did not have much currency, it is a boon to have it now available as either PDF or on Kindle. A print version is not available, but if you order the PDF, you can print it out.

Pietro Yon was a native of Settimo Vittone, a small town in northwestern Italy. As a child, he studied piano with the local cathedral organist, and by the age of 14 had entered the Royal Conservatory in Milan, where he studied with Polibio Fumagalli; the next year, he won a scholarship to the Turin Conservatory, where he studied organ with Roberto Remondi and composition with Giovanni Bolzoni (of Minuet lame). At 18, he entered the St. Cecilia Academy in Rome and graduated with every honor, having studied organ with Remigio Renzi and piano with Giovanni Sgambati, a noted Liszt pupil. Ini 907, he came to America (his brother Constantino, a singer, had preceded him) and became organist of the Jesuit church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City. He was a brilliant virtuoso with a certain gift for composition (Christmas in Sicily and a Toccata, 1912; First Concert Study, 1913; First Sonata, 1916; and, of course, Gesii Bambino, 1917), and knew the value of publicity-he gave 24 paid-admission organ recitals in the concert halls of New York (a total that is difficult to document). …

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