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casavantfreres.com

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COVER FEATURE

CHURCH OF SAINT LOUIS, KING OF FRANCE

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA

" .-

CASAVANT FRERES LTEE.

"A light in the shadow of commerce. Peace Usually a new organ represents the realiza- indicated clearly the concept he had in

in the stir of politics. Tradition in the glare of tion of years of hopes and dreams of a con- mind. In addition to the sound of the instru-

the new." These concise, yet eloquent stategregation aspiring to have an instrument of ment, the visual design should be truly stunments,

found as the opening text of a parish quality, and it often involves the determined ning. "We want what people see to be as

brochure, provide an excellent introduction endeavors of a particular individual who has meaningful as what they hear."

to the Church of Saint Louis, King of France, taken on the necessary leadership role in or- Father Morrissey's vision caught the atten-

in St. Paul, Minnesota. This church, rooted der to make the instrument a reality. Sometion of parishioner Helene Houle, who was

in tradition and located in the heart of a busy times a builder is presented with an opportu- inspired to donate funds for this beautiful in-

contemporary urban environment, ministers nity to work in a situation that takes an strument, given out of enormous love and re-

to people on a daily basis.

extraordinary direction into the realm of a spect for her parents as a lasting tribute to

Every time an organbuilder embarks upon truly unique project, and such is Casavant their memory. Her personal involvement

the path leading to a new instrument, the Opus 3762 built for the Church of Saint throughout the project has been truly spe-

journey is affected and enhanced by the per- Louis, King of France, in St. Paul, Minnesota. cial. She visited the workshop on two occasonalities

of the many individuals encoun- Words seem entirely inadequate to desions with members of her family, viewing

tered along the way, which in turn enrich the scribe the various circumstances that sur- the progress of the instrument, enthusiasti-

lives of everyone associated with the project. rounded the conception and building of this cally discussing various details, and meeting

Each instrument represents something very instrument. One only needs to view the case- the artisans who labored to build it. At the

personal that is, more often than not, related work to realize that few words are adequate, same time, we were brought into the inner

to the circumstances of the particular situa- or perhaps even necessary. fu his initial tele- circle of her family in a way that continues

tion rather than to the size of the instrument. phone conversation, Father Paul Morrissey to bring very pleasant recollections of these

50 Copyright 1999 American Guild of Organists, reprinted by permission

THE AMERICAN ORGANIST


events, culminating in the celebration surrounding

the blessing of the instrument on

the eve of Palm Sunday 1998.

The parish of Saint Louis, King of France,

was established in 1868 by French and

ous disciplines worked under the general supervision

of parishioner Leo B. McGough, always

gently guided by Saint Louis's pastor,

Father Paul F. Morrissey.

Those of us who were privileged to work

French-Canadian settlers in the St. Paul area.

with Father Morrissey, Thorn Robertson, the

When they decided to build a new building

in 1909, the parish commissioned Em-

staff and members of the parish, and Helene

Houle and her family have been forever

manuel-Louis Masqueray, one of the leading

French architects of the time, to create a truly

special building. Although this parish

church was considerably smaller than some

of his other commissions, including the St.

Paul Cathedral in St. Paul and the Basilica of

St. Mary in Minneapolis, Masqueray consid-

i.111 '

.~

1t

jWj,

changed by this experience. From its very beginning,

through the unveiling of the instrument,

and after, the enthusiasm for the project

has been unfailing, with everyone being

true partners working toward a common

goal.

CASAVANT FR~RES

ered this building to have special meaning,

Jacquelin Rochette

often referring to it as his "little gem."

Stanley Scheer

The pride that the parishioners, friends,

and neighbors of the Little French Church

feel today is rooted in 130 years of tradition;

The Church of Saint Louis,

King of France

Simon Couture

Tom Erickson

each generation has enhanced and preserved

for the next a church that would remain

steadfast through all the changes occurring

around it. There has been an underlying fidelity

to maintaining a place of solemnity,

beauty, and serenity to which people from

near and far would come to worship every

day.

Like many buildings of some age, the

church was in need of important repairs,

which included a new roof, tuck-pointing

the brick exterior, and restoration of the

stained-glass windows. Three new bronze

bells from the Fonderie de Cloches Paccard

of Annecy, France, and a white marble pulpit

have been added to the church, whose interior

has been refurbished and repainted.

All of this work preceded the arrival of the

new instrument in early 1998.

Father Paul F. Morrissey came to the

parish in 1985. Since becoming pastor in

1988, he has established a tradition of excellence

in music and the arts that includes a

30-member semiprofessional choir, which

sings at Sunday Masses and on feast days,

plus a public music series, "Musique de

Saint Louis," inaugurated in 1990. The

church's membership of about 700 families

is at an all-time high, double what it was a

decade ago. Father Morrissey often indicates

that much of the credit for this change

should go to the church's emphasis on fine

music; however, those who know him also

know that this parish's current strong position

is related to his leadership, which fosters

excellence in all activities, as well as the

loving pastoral care he provides to parishioners

and non parishioners alike.

Excellence of music and the arts is expected

at the Church of Saint Louis and the fact

that people drive many miles each week to

attend services there provides proof that

such endeavors are worthy of pursuit. Father

Morrissey said, "To us, art, music, and architecture

blend together in an important

way of reaching people. . . . We believe God

created beauty, so we use beauty and we celebrate

beauty."

In turning to Casavant Freres, the church

not only acknowledged and affirmed Casavant's

knowledge and affection for the

French organ tradition, but also recognized

the ability to design and build an instrument

exhibiting extraordinary craftsmanship and

artistry that would be appropriate for Masqueray's

architectural masterpiece.

While it would have been tempting to copy

some historical organ and its casework for

such a beautiful church, this was never a

consideration. Instead, a specification based

upon time-tested principles and suited to the

musical needs of the parish was designed to

fit into casework whose stunning visual appearance

would entice those who see its

beauty to want to hear the instrument.

The casework is constructed of oak and

finished to match the color of the wood

found in the church. The Cavaille-Coll-style

terraced drawknob console, which is detached

from the main casework and situated

immediately behind the Positif de dos, has

paneling incorporating the Cross of Saint

Louis on its sides and back. The base of the

main casework includes arched panels that

are in harmony with the Romanesque design

found in the windows and arches along the

aisles of the nave. Symbolism may be found

in many details of the casework. For example,

the clock face below the center tower of

the Positif de dos uses symbols of the twelve

Apostles to mark the hours. Of particular

note, and in recognition of numerous French

connections of both church and builder, the

central tower of the main case contains the

words, "Inspiration-Improvisation," important

attributes in the art of playing the organ.

These words are found carved on the casework

of the 1927 Casavant organ in the

Basilique-Cathedrale Notre-Dame in Quebec.

Carved elements on the casework include

numerous fJeurs de lys, plus bands of oak

leaves and acorns above and below the towers

of both cases. The oak leaves and acorns

remind us of King Louis's justice meted out

beneath the Parisian oaks, where all subjects

had access to him. The large towers of the

main casework are crowned with five crests,

from left to right: the crest of the Society of

Mary (in recognition of the Marist Fathers

who have served the parish since 1886); the

crest of the L' Allier family (in honor of the

donor's mother) topped by a rooster; the gilded

star of the Clochettes, redolent of Jesus

Christ, l'astre du matin, with the motto, "Inspiration-Improvisation";

the crest of the

Houle family (in honor of the donor's father)

topped by three fJeurs de lys; and the parish

crest, topped by the crown of Saint Louis.

The statue on the top of the Positif de dos

casework is of Saint Maron, the founder of

the Maronite Rite (Lebanon) of the Catholic

Church. The polished copper trompette-enchamade

is named to honor Saint Michael

the Archangel and Michel Lallier (1370-

1440), who was a mayor of the City of Paris.

The wonderful spirit of cooperation that

remained in place throughout the project allowed

each facet to flower appropriately, as

building contractors and artisans of numer-

From the Tonal Director

When I visited the Church of Saint Louis,

King of France, for the first time many years

ago I met with Father Morrissey. J. Michael

Barone, James Frazier, Wilma Jensen, and

Lawrence Lawyer to discuss the project. As

soon as I entered this lovely church, I marveled

at the elegance of the architecture and

the intimate acoustics of the room. Such a

gem deserved nothing but the finest organ.

both visually and tonally. Given the capacity

of the church, the organ did not need to be

large, but it had to be quite flexible, as the

music program was broad and demanding.

Since the church has French roots, this

was a fine opportunity to build an organ displaying

French aesthetics. Moreover, the

moderate size of the instrument and the

rather low wind pressures enabled us to conceive

an easily manageable mechanical-action

organ. The Grand argue. which is enclosed

for flexibility, and the Positif de dos

are classically oriented, whereas the Recit

and Choeur display more symphonic features

both in specification and in voicing.

The gallery is not very large and space had

to be provided for choristers in addition to

the organ casework. The gallery depth did

not allow the Recit division to contain its

usual number of stops, so the Choeur division,

which is behind the choristers in the

lower part of the casework, can also be

viewed as a complement to the Recit. The detached

console permits easy communication

with the choir, and further accompaniment

flexibility is provided by the fact that the

Grand argue, Recit, and Choeur are all

expressive.

Great care was taken to avoid too loud an

organ, especially as far as reeds are concerned,

while at the same time keeping the

energy of these sounds. For the Recit reeds, I

designed a special kind of shallot-parallel

with teardrop overlay-which combines the

best characteristics of both types.

There was an obvious desire for the colorful

voice of a reed stop en chamade, which,

being voiced on a relatively low wind pressure,

would not overwhelm the rest of the organ.

The Trompette Saint Michel provides

the organist with a perfect voice to playa

cantus firmus against the manual plenum

and be the crowning glory of full organ.

The Choeur stands on the floor level of the

gallery in the substructure of the organ. It is

primarily an accompanimental division but

can also be used in the manner of the traditional

Echo of the French Classic organ. During

the finishing of the organ, I remembered

FEBRUARY 1999 51


the late Maurice Durufle's and Andre Fleury's

comments on Franck's organ in Sainte-

Clotilde. Both had known that organ before

it was modified at Tournemire's request,

then electrified. They often told me that

Franck's Recit sounded quite remote and

very poetical, and that its reeds were rather

soft. This explains some of Franck's registrations.

I think it is possible to recreate that effect

in the Saint Louis organ, thanks to the

wonderful Fernwerk effect of the Choeur.

It was a challenge indeed to make the

sound effect match the magnificence of the

case. We are very proud to have built an organ

that fits architect Masqueray's petit bijou

so well, ad multos annos . . . Soli Deo

Gloria.

JEAN-LoUIS COIGNET

Tonal Director

Tribute to Jean-Claude Gauthier

For more than 35 years, Jean-Claude Gauthier

(April 11, 1929-Apri120, 1996) was responsible

for the conceptual visual designs

of instruments and presentation drawings at

Casavant Freres. A trained engraver, he

joined Casavant on October 21,1958. Prior to

his arrival, he was employed by a prominent

Montreal workshop devoted to the design

and fabrication of articles for liturgical use.

Many of the organs Mr. Gauthier designed

have been featured in Casavant advertisements,

and since 1983, seven have graced the

cover pages of THE AMERICAN ORGANIST (The

Presbyterian Church of Rye, New York, Jan.

1983; Foundry United Methodist Church,

Washington, D.C., June 1986; Highland Park

Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Tex., Jan. 1987;

Bel Air Presbyterian Church, Bel Air, Calif.,

May 1992; Reorganized Church of Jesus

Christ of Latter Day Saints-The Temple, Independence,

Mo., Feb. 1995; First Presbyterian

Church, Columbus, Ind., Feb. 1996;

Broadway Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Tex.,

Feb. 1997).

Monsieur Gauthier was an exceptionally

talented artist whose sense of proportion and

good taste was evident in all projects regardless

of size or complexity. He worked as easily

in period styles such as Romanesque,

Gothic, and Baroque as he did in contemporary

design. Each concept normally took four

to five days to produce. In the first few days,

during the germination process, there was

rarely any discernible visible activity-even

sketches were rare. Then when the actual

drawing began to appear, it flowed virtually

complete, almost magically, from his pencil.

Being a perfectionist, he would draw the

most minute details into a rendering in such

a way that the finished work had an almost

photographic quality. Usually the first drawing

was the only one that was needed. Sometimes,

when a client thought there should be

a different conception, another would be

made. Often, after seeing the alternative, the

client returned to the first design, realizing

that it was the one that fit the style and proportion

of the building perfectly. Jean-

Claude had a puckish sense of humor and his

interests embraced other artistic areas, including

metalwork and calligraphy. His passion

and continued interest in the organ was

evidenced by his frequent visits to the Casavant

workshop in the years following his retirement

to see the realization of the designs

he had made.

Jean-Claude Gauthier's talent was appreciated

and recognized by the many people

with whom he worked. When Father Paul

Morrissey received the case design for the

Church of Saint Louis, King of France, on December

13, 1991, he wrote, "I am thrilled by

your exquisite good taste. . . . Gazing on your

artistic creativity, and happily lingering

there, 1 am reminded of those wonderful

words of Pius XII, when he said that true art

'provides a window on the infinite for our

hungry souls.' God has certainly and substantially

blessed you with a great and noble

gift. 1 thank you from the bottom of my heart

for sharing your talents with us."

From the Wood Sculptor

Many years ago, when 1 first saw the presentation

drawing made by Casavant designer

Jean-Claude Gauthier for the organ project

at the Church of Saint Louis, King of France,

1 was in shock. 1 have made carvings for 38

organs by various builders and each of these

realizations has given me satisfaction, but to

be asked to work on such a masterpiece, as I

was arriving near the end of my career, gave

me pure joy. The numerous months spent

preparing the full-scale drawings and then

carving all the decorative elements of this organ

will remain forever the best souvenir of

my entire artistic life. I wish to emphasize

the very good spirit that prevailed during the

many months working with Casavant architect

Pierre Drouin and the head of the woodworking

department, Jean-Pi.erre Joyal. As a

Quebecer born in France, 1 could not be happier

to have completed my best work for a

church dedicated to Saint Louis, King of

France.

JEAN DUTIN

From the Organist

When the post of choirmaster-organist for

the Church of Saint Louis, King of France,

become open, part of the announcement was

that the contract had been signed for a 57rank

instrument by Casavant Freres. Naturally,

the interest of many was piqued, and I

am pleased to have been awarded the post,

beginning in October 1996. Arriving on the

scene after all of the initial planning, it was

a relief that much of the thrashing out of

specifications, console design, etc,. had already

taken place; little was left to me other

than a few minor details concerning the

placement of stops on the console. Fortunately.

the specification decided on was congruent

with my ideas for a multipurposed instrument

to be the foundation of the music

program of the "Little French Church."

The instrument makes no attempt to be a

historic copy, but rather it plays an amazing

amount of literature in a very authentic manner.

The three enclosed divisions, including

the Grand argue, make accompanying anthems

very easy. However, since the shutters

open completely to 90 degrees. each of these

expressive divisions can speak clearly as an

unenclosed division when needed. The

Choeur, located within the lower part of the

organ case, is ideal for accompanying small

ensembles, and also provides some of the

solo reed colors of the Recit. Most important

of all, the organ has proven itself worthy as a

service instrument, and congregational participation

in hymns and service music has

improved greatly.

Some people may feel that mixing mechanical

and electric actions (the floating

Choeur and trompette-en-chamade, for example)

in the same instrument might be a

problem, but the organ is so well regulated

that few people who play the instrument are

even aware of the difference. Visually, the

case and console are perfect additions to the

1909 Beaux Arts interior, and the very warm

acoustics allow the instrument to blossom in

the room.

The music program at the Church of Saint

Louis has been very highly regarded for a

number of years now and the addition of the

new organ allows that program to expand.

Guest recitalists have performed and, beginning

in September 1998, weekly lunchtime

recitals featuring area organists have been

scheduled. The community has responded

well to these offerings, and plans are already

under way for recordings to be issued.

TROM ROBERTSON

From the Pastor

When we began planning for the restoration

of the Little French Church some years

ago, much thought was given as to how the

interior of the church could best reflect the

ideals and beauty of architect Emmanuel

Masqueray's "little gem," And so, the importance

of the new pipe organ could not simply

be what sounds it would make, but also what

kind of appearance it would give. Hearing,

yes, but also seeing,

The entire fabric makes a statement that

what is created for the house of God should

be of the highest quality in sound, art, and

craft. We should offer to God only the very

best. Because of a most munificent gift from

Helene Houle. one of our parishioners, our

church was able to enlist the aid of highly

skilled artisans and builders to fashion an instrument

that was decidedly neither secondnor

third-rate,

Tradition in the Latin Church has always

maintained that the pipe organ has been held

in highest esteem. Strange as it may seem to

some, even Vatican II supported that view.

This new Casavant, Opus 3762, is also a noble

statement -against the vulgar conformism

of too many churches and their championing

of what one cleric astutely called "aesthetic

squalor."

As Jean-Marie Lustiger, Cardinal Archbishop

of Paris, has said, "When man, the

dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. transforms

creation into a work of art and imprints on it

the seal of God, he reveals in this act of worship

that all creation can and must sing out

the glory of God. What the delicate skill of art

and worship can accomplish with this instrument,

we must all do together for the

whole of creation, revealing thereby that for

which it was created by God; to give God glory

by fulfilling our human mission. For God

has entrusted the universe to us so that we

might rule over it. not as tyrants, but in the

priestly fashion of those who act as 'standins'

of the Creator,"

The accolades about Opus 3762 are both

frequent and fervent. Countless numbers of

people have worked on this project, which

had its early beginnings in 1990. Just as we

rightly say of this church: "A beautiful building

honors its architect," so likewise we accord

similar accolades to the artisans of this

supremely splendid pipe organ. Soli Deo

Gloria.

FATHER PAUL F. MORRISSEY, SM

Cover photo and console photo by

Michael Perrault

52 THE AMERICAN ORGANIST


Remarks Made by Donor Helene Houle on

the Occasion of the Solemn Blessing of

Casavant Opus 3762 on April 4, 1998

To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory

of Her Parents Laura L . Allier and Raymond

Houle

I am indeed humbled. This has been a really

long-awaited day, a most joyous day in

my life. John and I have been waiting two

years for the completion of this magnificent

organ, Father Morrissey has waited ten years.

He deserves many thanks and so much credit.

It was his vision, his efforts, and appreciation

for music and beauty that helped make

this happen, Thank you, Father Morrissey,

you are a great leader of the Little French

Church.

I am so happy you are all here this

evening-so many friends and dear relatives:

my five sisters, my two brothers and their

spouses, and my very special friend, John

Nasseff, in whose honor the statute of Saint

Maron stands as a focal point of the organ

casework.

I thank God for blessing us with such wonderful

parents. I miss them and love them

and owe them a lot. They lived their lives for

us. They lived through the Depression and

could not afford to give us many material

things, but they gave us something much

more valuable. They gave of themselves and

had time for us. We had three meals a day

with both parents, a rarity today. They had

the key ingredient-so much love for each

one of us. They never thought about their

comforts but always cared that we were

brought up properly. They gave us a good

work ethic, good values. and faith in God.

They were poor but, like most Frenchmen,

very proud people. Neither had much formal

education; however. no matter what sacrifices

it took, they made sure we went to St.

Ann's Catholic School. They paid the tuition,

and paid for the school bus transportation,

wanting the best for us.

We lived on a farm and, in the early years,

had no running water or electricity. My

mother made her own laundry soap and

washed our clothes on a washboard. My father

earned a living farming and however

else he could. I remember him cutting and

selling firewood and using a torch to cut up

old machinery to sell scrap iron. He loved going

to auctions, buying and selling anything

he could to turn a small profit to help support

us.

Our parents never had the pleasure of enjoying

a new car. They were thankful just for

having an old one, one that quite often

wouldn't start. I remember my mother expressing

only one wish for herself, that she

wanted to take a trip to visit her sister Marie

in California. She never had the money and

did not live to visualize that dream, so I am

especially happy that her sister, my Aunt

Marie, is here with us from California to

honor her tonight.

Today, I am a proud Frenchwoman. I am

so proud to say "Laura L' Allier, she was my

mother, and Raymond Houle, he was my father.

I love you very much and you will

never be forgotten." The music from this organ

will give glory to God in your name, for

all to hear and enjoy. To you, Mom and

Dad, and to all who are here to share in my

joy, I say: Thank you very much, Merci

beaucoup."

FEBRUARY 1999

CHURCH OF SAINT Loms,

KING OF FRANCE

ST. PAUL, MlNNEo5OTA

CASAVANT FRERES LIMITEE

SAINT-HYACINTHE. QUEBEC

GRAND ORGUE (II)

(expressive. 61 notes)

16 Montre

16 Bourdon

8 Montre

8 Flllte ~ cheminee

8 Flllte harmonique (common bass)

4 Prestant

4 Flllte

2 Doublette

2% Cornet III

1~ Fourniture IV

8 Trompette

Tremblant

16 Bombarde Saint-Michel (TC. ext.)

8 Trompette Saint-Michel

Clochettes (ten bells with rotating star)

POSITIF DE DOS (I) (61 notes)

8 Bourdon (stopped wood)

4 Montre

4 Flllte ~ fuseau

2% Nazard

2 Quarte de nazard

1% Tierce

1~ Larigot

1 Cymbale III

8 Cromorne

Tremblant

16 Bombarde Saint-Michel (G.O.)

8 Trompette Saint-Michel (G.O.)

PEDALE (32 notes)

32 Contrebasse (digital)

32 Soubasse (digital)

16 Montre (G.O.)

16 Soubasse

16 Bourdon (G.O.)

8 Octavebasse

8 Flllte bouchee (ext.)

4 Octave

32 Contre bombarde (digital)

16 Bombarde

16 Basson (Recit)

8 Trompette (ext.)

8 Trompette Saint-Michel (G. 0.)

4 Clairon (ext.)

RECIT (III)

(expressive. 61 notes)

8 Principal

8 Viole de gambe

8 Voix celeste (GG)

8 Cor de nuit

4 Octave

2 Octavin

2 Plein jell III-IV

16 Basson (1-12, 1/2)

8 Trompette

4 Clairon

Tremblant

Cloches (25 bells)

Rossignol

CHOEUR (floating)

(expressive. 61 notes)

8 Bourdon

8 Salicional

8 Unda maris (TC)

8 Flllte douce

8 Flllte celeste (TC)

4 Fugara

4 Flllte a cheminee

2 Cor de chamois

1 % Quintelette

8 Hautbois

8 Clarinette

8 Voix humaine

Tremblant

Cloches (Recit)

DESIGN DETAILS

Mechanical floating key action-Grand argue,

Positif de dos, and Recit

Electric slider chest key action-choeur

Electric stop action

Electronic combination action--64 memories

Balanced expression pedals-Grand argue.

Recit. and Choeur

Programmable crescendo

Cavaille-Coll-style terraced drawknob console

of oak

Rosewood sharps. stop and coupler controls.

and nameplates

Stained oak casework

Solid wood carvings embellished with 24karat

gold leaf

Wind pressures:

Grand argue 75 mm

Recit 80 mm

Positif de dos 65 rom

Choeur 80 rom

Pedale 75 and 85 mm

Trompette Saint-Michel 80 rom

Opus 3762

Curator-Thomas Erickson

53

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