The Casavant Organ
In 115 years of building organs at Casavant, no other instrument has had the same design as Opus 3740, built for First Presbyterian Church. Opus 3740 follows time honored architectural rules and the tonal design makes the organ well suited to the playing of many types of organ literature. It is custom designed for the needs of First Presbyterian with a classical design that will serve the church well for many generations.
The instrument has four divisions which include the PA©dale played with the feet, plus three manual divisions: Grand Orgue or Great, RA©cit or Swell, and the Antiphonal located at the rear of the church. The bourdon, 4' octove, 2' principal, the the misture pipes of the previous instrument were completely reworked and revoiced for use in the new instrument. Most of these pipes have been used in the antiphonal division. Pipes of the violon rank from the previous instrument have been used in the PA©dale. The chime tubes from an even earlier instrument were renovated for use with new actions for this instrument.
The case design was created by artist Jean-Claude Gauthier whose career at Casavant lasted thirty-two years. The csework for First Presbyterian Church was his last design before retirement. The console and casework are handcrafted from walnut. The faA§ade pipes in the front organ case are all speaking pipes from the PA©dale Montre 16' and Octoavebasse 8'. The facade of the antiphonal at the rear of the sanctuary are all speaking pipes from the 8' Montre. The metal has been polished and lacquered to preserve the finish.
The upper section of the front organ case houses the windchests and pipework of the Grand Orgue. This division contains stops of a principal chorus from 16 foot pitch through the mixture. There are flutes at eight foot and four foot pitch as well as a Trompette using a Clicquote style French shallot which yields a bright, clear tone. One unusual stop is the FIA»te harmonique 8', which is a metal pipe with a hole drilled into the center of the pipe body. This hole deliberately causes the pipe to "overblow" and sound a pitch one octave higher. This almost pure tone is significantly different from the individual colors of the other flute stops and is especially useful for solo melodic lines. This stop is a CavaillA©-Coll style design first used in 1840.
Below the Grand Orgue in the lower left side of the case are the pipes of the RA©cit or Swell division. Here one finds flutes, strings, and principals of varying pitch, timbre and intensity. Flutes at five different pitches (8', 4', 2-2/3', 2', 1-3/5') form the Cornet dA©composA©. The RA©cit contains several interesting reed colors including a Trompette with CavaillA©-Coll or Franch Romantic style shallots to contrast in timbre with the Grand Orgue Trompette. The cylindrical Doucaine has a clarinet-like tone and plays at unison and subunison pitches. The Hautbois or Oboe and Clairon 4' fill out the complete reed chorus of this division.
The stops of the PA©dale division provide foundation for the organ's ensemble. It includes a full length Bombarde with Dom BA©dos shallots. A number of manual stops are available in this division to increase flexibility.
The Antiphone division contains both the softest (FIA»te douce, FIA»te cA©leste) and loudest (Trompette-de-fAte) individual stops in the organ. The Tompette-de-fAte is hooded and on higher wind pressure, but its English style shallots give it a round full tone like that of a Tuba.
To learn more about the Casavant Organ at First Presbyterian Church we would invite you to contact our Minister of Music Mr. Colin Andrews or visit the Casavant web page (click here).