13th January 1885
23rd November 1930
Sutton, southeast of Montreal, Canada
(Walter) Lynnwood Farnam. was a Canadian organist and teacher
He studied piano in Dunham, Que, and in 1900 was awarded the Lord Strathcona Scholarship, which paid three years' tuition at the RCM, London.
Farnam has become a legend in the organ world. He did no improvising, and his only composition, a French-style Toccata on the Easter Hymn 'O filii et filiae,' was published posthumously (by Theodore Presser at the instigation of Farnam's pupil Ernest White; it was recorded by Hugh McLean). But he was counted among the great interpreters, attracting to his performances not only organists but other leading musicians and a wide listening public. He introduced his audiences to organ music of his day - particularly French and American - as well as to the forerunners of Bach. He championed Willan's Introduction, Passacaglia, and Fugue, thus helping it to fame. His programs also offered the complete works of Brahms, Franck, and other romantics, and in one notable season, 1928-9, he played all of Bach's organ music in 20 recitals, repeating each program once and some twice to meet the public demand. Farnam's success was international, and he gave numerous recitals in England and France on the greatest organs. He played his last recital - at the Church of the Holy Communion 12 Oct 1930 - in great distress. He was taken to hospital immediately afterwards, and terminal cancer of the liver was diagnosed. He died a month later. Louis Vierne dedicated his Organ Symphony No. 6 (1931) to Farnam's memory.