St. James Organ

Wadsworth, 1888 / Warren, 1909

Casavant, Opus 1608, 1938

The organ that forms the base for the present instrument at St. James United Church was originally built by the firm of Edward D. Wadsworth & Bros of Montreal (also of Aberdeen, London & Manchester). The contract was signed in 1888 but the instrument was not completed to the satisfaction of the church until 1891, at a cost of $12,550 less $2,375 in exchange for the old organ from the previous church.

This instrument was installed at the front of the sanctuary (where it still is today), and had a detached console (3 manuals and pedals) facing the case pipes. The celebrated American organist, Frederic Archer, was engaged to oversee the installation.

In November 1908, the firm of Warren Bros of Ontario began the job of rebuilding the organ at a cost of $6,000. A fourth manual, many new couplers and adjustable combination pistons were added. Numerous other changes were made as well, including the replacement of the original hydraulic blowing apparatus with an electric blower because it was found to be less expensive to operate ($175 annually for electric power in contrast to $233 annually for the cost of water, the supply of which was inconsistent).

Lynnwood Farnam, who was organist from 1904-1905, visited the church on Tuesday February 15, 1910, after the Warren Bros reconstruction and pronounced himself not entirely satisfied with the result.

In the 1930's, consideration was again given to rebuilding the organ along more modern lines and in July 1938, a contract was signed with Casavant Frères Ltée to completely rebuild the instrument at a cost of $16,000. The original pipework was re-used with many new ranks added and all were placed on new chests. The existing case and display pipes were moved forward approximately two feet to accommodate the enlarged instrument. The present console also dates from this time.

In 1956, a new Nazard 2 2/3' was added to the Swell. Other minor changes (cleaning and some re-voicing) have been made to the instrument since that time but it remains essentially unchanged since 1938.

Many notable organists have played recitals on this instrument, including Fernando Germani, André Marchal, E. Power Biggs and Simon Preston. For several years the Casavant Society sponsored young artists in recitals at St. James United and it should be noted that both Raymond Daveluy and Bernard Lagacé had their Montreal debuts here. Another internationally known musical figure, Maureen Forrester, was a choir member at St. James early in her career.

Stop List

Great
Double Open Diapason16'
Open Diapason I8'
Open Diapason II8'
Gemshorn8'
Hohl Flute8'
Rohr Flute8'
Principal4'
Flute4'
Twelfth2 2/3'
Fifteenth2'
MixtureIII
MixtureIV
Contra Fagotto16'
Trumpet8'
Clarion4'
Swell (enclosed)
Lieblich Bourdon16'
Open Diapason8'
Lieblich Gedeckt8'
Harmonic Flute8'
Viola Aetheria8'
Viola da Gamba8'
Voix Celeste8'
Octave4'
Flute4'
Nazard2 2/3'
Flautino2'
MixtureIII
Bassoon16'
Cornopean8'
Oboe8'
Clarion4'
Choir (enclosed)
Lieblich Gedeckt16'
Lieblich Flute8'
Spitz Flute8'
Flute Celeste8'
Gamba8'
Dulciana8'
Flute Octaviante4'
Nazard2 2/3'
Piccolo2'
Tierce1 3/5'
Clarinet8'
Solo (enclosed)
Stentorphone8'
Doppel Flute8'
German Gamba8'
Concert Flute8'
Violina4'
Cor Anglais8'
Orchestral Oboe8'
Tuba8'
Pedal
Acoustic Bass32'
Open Diapason16'
Violone16'
Bourdon16'
Gemshorn (GT)16'
Lieblich Bourdon (SW)16'
Bass Flute8'
Viola8'
Stopped Flute8'
Flute4'
Bombarde32'
Trombone16'
Basson (SW)16'
Trumpet8'

Other Details

Chamber Organ

The Chamber Organ at St. James United Church, Montreal was built by Karl Wilhelm, Facteurs d'Orgues-Organbuilders in 1978 and was acquired from Erskine and American United Church where it formerly stood until its closure in 2004.

Mr. Wilhelm writes, "It is a Classical Positif of one manual and no pedal with 3 stops: Holzgedackt 8'-Rohrflöte 4'-Prinzipal 2. The manual compass is C-f''' 54 notes and the Temperament is A 415-Barca (1/6 c.s.)"

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