In the first section, Peter Williams poses a number of seemingly unanswerable historical questions and then proposes intriguing solutions. Laurence Libin then presents an overview, beginning with the arrival of the organ on this continent (in what is now Mexico) in the sixteenth century. This is followed by a lavishly illustrated essay in which architectural historian Richard Cleary examines how organs, over five centuries, have interacted with their settings, be they churches, theatres, concert halls, civic buildings, or homes.
In the second section, Michael Barone, host of the public radio program Pipedreams, shows us how to build a library of organ recordings. Much more than a mere listing, this is a highly personal guide to a wide spectrum of the organ's repertoire, whether it be baroque, romantic, modern, in the theatre, or with brass, choir, or orchestra. Douglas Bush then defines for us the special terms we encounter when talking about the organ. There are also suggestions for further reading and a list of organizations serving those interested in the organ.