TEMC Organist Historical Spotlight
Albert Jordan and Thomas James Crawford (1925-1946)
Present day chancel ceiling showing 1938 organ chambers.
Whereas TEMC’s third organist Ernest MacMillan took up his duties at the age of 27, leaving in his early 30s; Seaforth, Ontario native Albert Jordan came to the bench at 48, as an established figure on the London, Ontario music scene, where he lived (and commuted to from) until his death in 1932. Jordan had already founded and directed several musical organisations in southwestern Ontario, performed organ recitals in Pittsburgh and New York and represented Canada at both the Pan-American exhibition (Buffalo, 1901) and the Panama-Pacific exhibition (San Francisco, 1915). He was succeeded in 1933 by Thomas James Crawford, a Scot of precisely the same age who had come to Toronto in 1922 to become organist of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, but who had pursued a more international career in Glasgow, Leipzig, and most notably Westminster Abbey and St. Michael’s Chester Square in London England. He retired to Barrie, Ontario in 1946 where he served as organist to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church until a tragic auto accident claimed him in 1955. In 1938 during Crawford’s time at TEMC (and perhaps at least partly under his influence) Lady Eaton directed that the organ be moved from its original east transept balcony position to dual chancel chambers, and the choir reconfigured into the classic Anglican divided “Westminster Chancel” – this is what we see today.
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ORGAN AND SAXOPHONE CONCERT
TEMC’s Organ Century celebrations continue Friday February 13th at 7:30 pm with “DANCE OF THE BLESSED SPIRITS”, a concert by our Principal Organist Christopher Dawes with saxophonist Daniel Rubinoff presented by the ORGANIX 2015 concert series as its opening performance.
Music will include works of Telemann, Ruth Watson Henderson, Eugene Bozza and Denis Bedard, as well as jazz compositions and improvisations with piano, and the concert will be repeated Sunday February 15, 3pm at St. Cuthbert’s Anglican Church.
Tickets discounted for members of the TEMC congregation are available from the Volunteer Office at (416) 925-5977.
TEMC Organist Historical Spotlight – Mrs. H.M. Blight to Sir Ernest MacMillan (1910-1925)
Dalton Baker and the first TEMC Choir
TEMC’s founding in 1914 occurred against the backdrop of the optimism and energy of a new century, but as in many major churches the expense and challenges of creating a remarkable building trumped the practical need for an organ to lead worship, and as you will likely have heard the organ we still enjoy at TEMC followed fully four years later in 1914, a year which also saw the outbreak of World War I. Prior to that time our church’s first Director of Music, Mrs. Harry M. Blight, accompanied services led in various locations prior to the completion of the main church sanctuary that stands today.
In 1914 the church opened, and on Monday December 21st of that year, celebrated British-American organist T. Tertius Noble of St. Thomas Church New York City gave the Dedication recital on its new Casavant Organ. The concert, which featured works of Bach, Guilmant and Liszt also featured renowned recently-emigrated British baritone Dalton Baker, who became TEMC’s first Organist and Choir Master, serving until 1919.
But it was a Toronto boy who would become TEMC’s next and most famous organist, Ernest MacMillan. MacMillan spent World War I interned as an enemy alien in Germany, but became TEMC’s organist in 1920, staying until 1925. MacMillan became principal of the Toronto Conservatory of Music in 1926, served as conductor of the Toronto Symphony from 1931 to 1956 (and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir for the last 14 of those years). MacMillan was knighted in 1935, and became a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1970.
ORGAN AND SAXOPHONE CONCERT: “Dance of the Blessed Spirits”
Christopher Dawes, organ and Daniel Rubinoff, saxophones
TEMC’s Organ Century celebrations continue Friday February 13th at 7:30 pm with “DANCE OF THE BLESSED SPIRITS”, a concert by Principal Organist Christopher Dawes with saxophonist Daniel Rubinoff presented by the ORGANIX concert series. Music will include works of Telemann, Ruth Watson Henderson, Eugene Bozza and Denis Bedard, as well as jazz compositions and improvisations with piano. Tickets discounted for members of the TEMC congregation are available online from http://www.organixconcerts.ca
and the TEMC Volunteer Office at (416) 925-5977. The performance will be repeated on Sunday February 15, 3pm at St. Cuthbert’s Anglican, Church, Oakville.
Image: Caricature of Dawes and Rubinoff for their 2008 appearance in the Sundays at 3 series of the Royal Canadian College of Organists in All Saints’ Cathedral, Edmonton.
Audio: Classical 96 Radio ad for 2015 Organix performances
The Solo Organ
Stop knobs on the Solo organ
In the early 20th century when TEMC’s organ was built a well-established preoccupation of organ builders was the emulation of symphonic sounds. Our organ bears many marks of this interest from its early life, but none so obvious as in its Solo division, sporting stops like “Viole d’orchestre”, “Orchestral Flute”, “Cor anglais” and “Orchestral Oboe” – even an interesting “Jeu de Clochettes” (‘ring of bells’ – although it is not) and a Harp (which, strangely, IS a ring of bells!!) The division’s main use is the playing of solo melodies, either intentionally resembling the instruments they imitate, or blending colours with the overall harmonic palette. The Solo organ plays from the 4th manual on the TEMC console, which it shares with the Echo Division in the east corner of the church’s rear gallery, but the intention in our 2015 console revision is for the Echo division to move up to the 5th manual where it will reside with our exciting new Antiphonal organ, while the Bombarde (our other ‘orchestral’ style division) joins the Solo on manual IV.
Organ Quotes III
“Miss no opportunity to practice on the organ; there is no instrument that takes such immediate revenge on the impure and the careless, in composition as well as in the playing, as the organ.”
– Robert Schumann
“If we complain about the tune, there is no reason to attack the monkey when the organ grinder is present.”
“Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.”
– Winston Churchill
“Bring me a bowl of coffee before I turn into a goat.”
-Johann Sebastian Bach
The Bombarde Organ
The notion of bright, brassy, high-wind-pressure trumpet-like stops on pipe organs is centuries old – Spanish organs in particular were famous for this feature in the Renaissance and Baroque eras – but dedicating an entire pipe division to these and related stops was a late 19th-20th century trend driven by technological advancement, and by players, composers and builders interested in orchestral sonorities, and in particular with mimicking the effect of a complete orchestral brass section. It is no coincidence that Bombarde stops and divisions are named by the same root as military ‘bombardment’ – they are frequently used in connection with fanfares on royal and military occasions – but historically there is a closer connection to a bright and powerful Breton folk instrument related to the oboe and its ancestor the shawm.
As the photo shows the TEMC Bombarde division, currently playing from Manual V and mounted at the front of the west chancel chamber, is based on two ‘Tuba’ stops (‘tuba’ is the Latin word for ‘trumpet’), but also includes three other stops, Violoncello, Flute and Principal – used either to colour and complete the trumpet effects or as bright, prominent solo stops in their own right.
Our ‘Organ Century’ plans for the TEMC organ call for the combination of the Bombarde and Solo (see next week’s “Tweet”) divisions onto Manual IV, and the creation of a new Antiphonal division above the south balcony joining the current Echo division on Manual V. The crowning glory of this new division is to be a Trumpet ‘en chamade’ (another military reference) projecting out horizontally from the south wall. This new division would be our organ’s new, and best-ever connection with the space in our nave, and God willing, with our hearts as we gather there.
More on this in 2015…