James Welch Organist

The Organ of the Carmel Mission Basilica

The life of the church is filled with celebrations, among them worship services, weddings, and memorials. For centuries these sacred occasions have inspired the creation of a rich musical repertoire. This recording reflects the spirit of such gatherings -- alternately joyous, serene, festive, and solemn, but always inspiring.

Musical Selections

Toccata on "Amazing Grace"J. Christopher Pardini
Bist du bei mir (Be Thou Near Me)J. S. Bach
RigaudonAndré Campra
SicilienneMaria Theresia von Paradis
Trumpet VoluntaryJohn Stanley
Aria on "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less"John Behnke
Spring, from The Four SeasonsAntonio Vivaldi
JerusalemC. Hubert H. Parry
Wachet Auf (Sleepers, Awake)J. S. Bach
Improvisation on Beethoven's "Hymn to Joy"Richard Elliott
The Gift to Be SimpleDale Wood
Rondeau, from Sinfonies de FanfaresJean-Joseph Mouret
Folk TuneCharles Callahan
The Prince of Denmark's MarchJeremiah Clarke
Jesu, Joy of Man's DesiringJ. S. Bach
Psalm 19 (The Heavens Declare the Glory of God)Benedetto Marcello
Largo, from Concerto for MandolinAntonio Vivaldi
Hornpipe in F, from Water MusicG. F. Handel
Air, from Water MusicG. F. Handel
Allegro in D, from Water MusicG. F. Handel
Jupiter Theme, from The PlanetsGustav Holst
Prelude in Classic StyleGordon Young
GavotteSamuel Wesley
Tuba Tune in D MajorCraig Sellars Lang
Ave MariaFranz Schubert
Prelude to a Te DeumMarc Antoine Charpentier
Arioso, from Keyboard Concerto in F minorJ. S. Bach
Toccata, from Symphony No. 5Charles M. Widor

The Carmel Mission Basilica

Mission San Carlos Borromeo, the second of 21 California missions, was founded by Father Junipero Serra in 1770. By 1774 adobe construction was under way; however, Father Serra died in 1784 and was buried at the mission. In 1793 the present stone church was begun under the supervision of Father Lasuen and was dedicated in 1797. During the early 1800's the church had fallen into disrepair. In 1884 the church was rededicated, and in 1924 a program of construction and restoration was begun.

In 1960 Pope John XXIII granted a petition that the Carmel Mission be raised to the status of Minor Basilica. Today the Mission contains a collection of historical religious paintings, sculpture, vestments, and other articles used during the mission period.

The Carmel Mission, in its spectacular setting against the sea and mountains, is certainly the gem of the missions. The rich brown sandstone buildings with the Moorish domed tower and a unique star-shaped window are surrounded by courtyards with native California poppies, wisteria, and fountains.

Upon exiting the vividly painted Mission Basilica the eye is drawn to the loft and the remarkable European-style organ case, complete with horizontal trumpets. The live acoustics of the Mission sanctuary also enhance the sonority of the organ. While similar in appearance to many Spanish organs, the specifications of the Casavant organ allow for the performance of all styles and periods of music. This recording demonstrates music from the Baroque period to the present day, with music of England, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and the United States. These examples from the sacred and secular literature are a tribute to the versatility of both organ and organist.

Much credit is due to former pastor Eamon MacMahon, who was instrumental in the acquisition of the Casavant organ in 1986. Gratitude is also due to Fr. John Griffin, present pastor, and to Edward Soberanes, Mission organist since 1973, both of whom helped make possible the production of this premiere CD recording.

About the Instrument

The Organ of the Carmel Mission Basilica
Casavant Frères, St. Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada, 1986, Op. 3612
27 stops, 34 ranks, 1922 pipes
Grand Orgue
Montre 9
Bourdon 8
Prestant 4
Flûte à fuseau 4
Nazard 2-2/3
Flûte 2
Tierce 1-3/5
Fourniture IV
Trompette-en-chamade 8
Récit (expressive)
Cor de nuit 8
Viole de gambe 8
Voix céleste 8
Principal 4
Flûte à cheminée 4
Doublette 2
Larigot 1-1/3
Cymbale III
Hautbois 8
Choeur (antiphonal)
Bourdon 8
Dulciane 8
Flûte à cheminée 4
Octave 2
Mixture III
Soubasse 16
Octavebasse 8
Bourdon 8
Octave 4
Bourdon 4
Bombarde 16
Trompette 8
Hautbois 4