Whitney Eugene Thayer was born near Boston, in Mendon, Massachusetts on December 11, 1838. He was a student of John Knowles Paine and in 1865 he spent a year in Berlin, studying organ with Haupt and composition with Wiepracht. On his return he was appointed organist of the Boston Music Hall, and successively served in several prominent Boston churches.
In 1875 he opened the first private organ studio in Boston and began publication of a short-lived but influential periodical for organists - the first of its kind in the US, and named "The Organist's Quarterly Journal and Review." In 1874 he published a comprehensive course of instruction in five parts entitled "The Art of Organ Playing." In Part III, "The Art of Registration," Thayer's set of "Variations on the Russian National Hymn" appears. It is one of his best compositions. Apart from a festive cantata and a Mass, he composed numerous works for organ, art songs, and vocal quartets.
Tragically, Thayer comitted suicide in Burlington Vermont on June 27, 1889.
The Haverhill Binns organ allows a good sense of feeling for the piece, although the sound of Thayer's "studio organ" would have been much smaller. Also the relatively dry acoustic "feels quite American," and SHOWS your mistakes... :-(
As I've mentioned before, I never had all that much interest in American organ music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries until I came to Hoboken with the 1909 Wirsching organ. I think this is the sort of music that will sound terrific on it - as soon as we get in done - and we ARE close! Tomorrow, we "put in" the completely restored Great reeds - independent 16, 8, & 4! The 16 is big and round, and sounds "like a Pedal reed" at the low end... ;-)