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.
The New York critics recognized Farnam's worth. Lawrence Gilman of the Herald Tribune wrote that he was truly self-effacing and had whole-hearted dedication kindled by genius, intensity of vision, sincerity, and excelling craft. Richard Aldrich of the Times wrote that Farnam had executive power, artistic sense, and a comprehensive knowledge of organ literature. His Canadian pupils included Arthur L. Bates, H. William Hawke, Harold Ramsay, Frederick Silvester, and Ernest White. Notable among his pupils in the USA were Ruth Barrett Phelps in California, Alfred Greenfield in North Carolina, Alex McCurdy in Maine, Paul Robinson in North Carolina, and Carl Weinrich in New Jersey.
'Rambling remarks of an organist's sojourn in England,' Diapason, 4 instalments, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec 1927
'How the organ chose a disciple,' Overtones, Apr 1930
Author H. William Hawke
Bach - Karg-Elert - Sowerby - Vierne. Classic 1040
A Pipe Organ Concert by Lynwood Farnam. 3-Ultra Fidelity.
- UF-1: Farnam - Stebbins - Widor - Stoughton - Rheinberger - Vierne
- UF-2: Widor - Yon - Saint-Saëns - Malling - Faulkes - Merkel
- UF-3: Vierne - Karg-Elert - Yon - Guilmant - D'Every
'A noted Canadian organist's views on organ playing and repertoire,' CQR, vol 1, Nov 1918
'A chat with Lynnwood Farnam,' MT, 1 Aug 1923
Worcester, Elwodd. 'Lynnwood Farnam, the modest genius,' Diapason, Feb 1931
Hawke, W.H. 'Some Farnam registrations,' American Organist, 2 articles, Jul, Sep 1956
'Lynnwood Farnam; his life,' American Organist, Jul 1964
Rizzo, Jeanne. 'Lynnwood Farnam - master organist of the century,' Diapason, 2 instalments, Dec 1974, Jan 1975
RCCO papers. Hawke, W.H. 'Lynnwood Farnam: 1885-1930,' manuscript
McLean, Eric. 'Memories of Lynnwood Farnam, a giant of organ music,' Montreal Gazette, 2 Feb 1985
Conner, Jeanne Rizzo. 'Lynnwood Farnam: a centennial remembrance,' American Organist, vol 19, Nov 1985
The Curtis Institute of Music. Farnam collection
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...