William McVicker

The piece Six variationen über una tema di Vincent Youmans was composed by the multi-talented William McVicker, who is a composer, organist, and organ curator. The composition was written on commission by the six organists below to celebrate the retirement of Karen McFarlane, who was the artist manager for these organists in the USA. Each organist is represented by one of the variations, but it's a secret as to which variation is which organist.

So go ahead and try to figure it out! Use the hints in the music to match with the temperaments of the musician. Send this page to your friends, so they can join in the fun!


The contest has ended but you can still try to guess which artist belongs with which variation.

The page originally shows the organists in alphabetical order. Click on the arrows to switch around the pictures into the order you think is the correct sequence they appear in the music. When you are done click the button to check and see if your answer is correct. There are 720 possible answers, so consider carefully!

Variation 3 Quotations

Variation 3 has a number of quotes... so compare this against your previous best guess!

They appear in this order in the right hand:

  • JSBach: Chorale Prelude on Wachet auf!
  • Boellman: Prière à Notre Dame from Suite Gothique
  • Norman Cocker: Tuba Tune
  • Camille Saint-Saens: Fantasie in E♭
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams: Rhosymedre
  • Marcel Dupré: Cortège et Litanie

Then the above lines repeat.

  • John Cook: Fanfare
  • Louis Vierne: Carillon de Westminster
  • S S Wesley: Choral Song (the fugue subject)
  • Rachmaninov: Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini
  • Joseph Jongen: Sonata Eroica
  • JSBach: Art of fugue (two motifs: the first from Contrapunctus 12, last bar; the second from Contrapunctus inversus, last bar.)

Then the above lines repeat; the Bach 'inversus' theme only appears in the final bar.

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