From April 24 to June 26, 2016.
The basilica of Saint Joseph’s Oratory possesses a magnificent organ that is ranked among the ten most prestigious in the world. It bears the signature of German organ maker Rudolf von Beckerath (1907-1976).
The music of the Beckerath organ accompanies prayer and religious ceremonies that are celebrated in the basilica. Concerts featuring works from various musical periods showcase the power of this magnificent instrument.
This mechanical-action instrument is composed of 5811 pipes, forming 78 stops organized into six divisions: the Positive, the Great, the Bombard, the Swell, the Echo and the Pedal. The console has five keyboards and a pedalboard corresponding to the six divisions of the organ. Its imposing façade displays pipes as long as 9.75 m (32 feet).
The organ was fashioned over a period of two years, from 1958 to 1959, in Beckerath's workshops in Germany. It took seven months to install the instrument in Montreal. On November 13, 1960, the Oratory’s organ was blessed and inaugurated with a recital by the famous French organist, André Marchal.
“A virtuoso on the organ […], his playing is flawless.”- John Collins, The Diapason
“Vincent Boucher is clearly on of the finest organists to appear in Canada in decades.”
- Daniel Foley, The Wholenote
Vincent Boucher is enjoying a true double career, pursuing both music and finance. He has studied under harpsichordists Dom André Laberge and Luc Beauséjour, as well as organist Bernard Lagacé. While in Mireille Lagacé’s class at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, a jury twice unanimously awarded him a first prize for organ and harpsichord. He has also completed a doctorate in performance at McGill University with John Grew and William Porter, and furthered his studies in Vienna with Michael Gailit, and later in Paris with Pierre Pincemaille.
Vincent Boucher has performed extensively and internationally, notably in England, Austria and France at the Cathedrals of Chartres, Bourges, and Notre-Dame de Paris. In 2000 he won first prize in the John Robb Organ Competition. In 2002, he won the Académie de musique du Québec’s Prix d’Europe, which had not been given to an organist since 1966. In 2003 he was awarded an Opus Prize in the category Discovery of the Year. He has already made eleven recordings, which have won a number of prizes and the praise of critics. Most recently, he has released the first recordings of the complete works of Charles Tournemire, as well as three CDs recorded on Saint-Joseph’s Oratory’s Beckerath organ.
With over 21 years experience as a liturgical organist, Mr. Boucher was the principal organist at Sainte-Cécile Cathedral in Valleyfield from 1996 to 2000 and is currently assistant organist at Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church in Montréal since 1993.
For more than 15 years, Vincent Boucher has worked in the financial industry, and he currently serves as investment advisor at National Bank Financial. A CFA chartholder, he holds a bachelor's degree in finance and a graduate degree in e-commerce from the HEC, Université de Montréal’s business school and a Master of Business Administration from Oxford University. Sought administrator, he currently sits on the Board of the Pro Musica Society and the Concours International Organ Competition.
The organ in the crypt church, opus number 708, was built in 1917 by Casavant Brothers of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. The original instrument consisted of 19 stops with two keyboards and a pedalboard. A restoration was undertaken in 1962, adding sixteen new stops and a third keyboard. Then in 1989, the instrument was completely “refurbished.” On this occasion, a new stop was added, and the console equipped with a new computerized system. Also, the blower, leather pieces and other worn parts were replaced.
More recently, in 2007 and 2008, the organ and its casework were cleaned, adjusted, restored and enlarged. All of the organ pipes are now contained inside the casework, presenting a more homogeneous sound and an elegantly harmonious visual appearance. The organ pipe façade was also expanded and painted in the English style, common among the instruments which Casavant Brothers constructed at that period.
This beautiful loft organ now consists of 36 stops on three manual keyboards and a pedalboard.