SAINT EUSTACHE CHURCH
"A Recording Venue of the Highest Rank"
St. Eustache Church, the recording venue of L'Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, was built in the early 19th century in typical French-Canadian architectural style of the period. The church is in the town of St. Eustache which is situated some 20 miles west of Montreal, off of Autoroute des Laurentides (rt. 15). As the church and the town are of historical importance, the façade of the church is scared with cannon ball and rifle bullet marks from the 1837 French-Canadian revolt. L'Abbé Jacques Paquin, a distant cousin, was pastor of the church at this time and his own writings of the battle are readily available on line.
Acoustically, this church is quite unique and the photos below show the many ornamental details which can only enhance any sound made under the ceiling and within the walls of this church. The floor is slightly inclined (see last two photos) which adds greatly to the overall effect. There is no carpeting anywhere and several rows of front pews are removed according to recording needs and to provide open space for the orchestra, microphone stands, etc. Decca/London usually records there in June or October and town official detour all vehicular traffic away from the church to provide a very quiet setting for recording. Motorboats on the river to the right and rear of the church are also detoured.
Façade of Saint Eustache Church in St. Eustache, Québec
Why St. Eustache Church?
It has similar acoustical breadth and warmth and diffusion as Kingsway Hall, London, the preferred venue for Decca/London recording in the past. Recordings made in both venues, according to my own listening assessments, show the special acoustical properties that make Decca/London classical recordings so unique. St. Eustache Church is open daily to the public. Daily and Sunday Catholic Masses and well as local concerts will provide you with a special sonic (if not spiritual) occasion and the presence of a large listening or praying audience will not diminish the church acoustics in a negative way. It is my understanding that Decca/London maintains exclusive recording rights and 8% of CD sale revenues are returned to the church for upkeep as well as for good works of the parish.