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