The single manual chamber and continuo organ in EMV’s collection was commissioned from Helmuth Wolff and was the first Wolff on the West Coast. Small, single manual organs without pedals were popular in Europe during the seventeenth century as aristocratic households frequently held concerts of music or chamber operas, and the continuo organ could be easily moved and played for accompaniment. Our chamber organ is often seen performing Renaissance and Baroque repertoires with other musicians.
Wolff was a Canadian organ builder who had a leading role in the revival of historical organ building practices in North America during the 1960s. In 1968, he established his firm Wolff & Associés in Laval, Quebec, where he built and designed some fifty instruments in various churches, concert halls, and other sites across North America. His largest organ, installed in Christ Church Cathedral (Victoria, BC) has 61 stops and 85 ranks. The chamber organ in our collection is among Wolff’s smallest organs and has five stops and four pitches.