Archambault Musique

Archambault Musique. Business concern established in Montreal in 1896 by Edmond Archambault. It began as a sheet music store at the corner of Ste-Catherine and St-Hubert streets and moved later to Ste-Catherine and Berri.

Archambault Musique

Archambault Musique. Business concern established in Montreal in 1896 by Edmond Archambault. It began as a sheet music store at the corner of Ste-Catherine and St-Hubert streets and moved later to Ste-Catherine and Berri. Archambault (b St-Paul-L'Ermite, near Montreal, August 1870, d Montreal 8 Jul 1947; in his youth a student of piano and organ in Montreal) added Bell pianos to the store's merchandise around 1900. The success of this expansion allowed him in 1904 to lease two additional floors, containing studios and a concert hall. During World War I he took over his neighbour's business, the Hurteau music store. He became the agent for several Canadian and US pianos (Pratte, David & Michaud, Lesage, Baldwin) and organs (Thomas, Baldwin). He also sold Archambault pianos, made by his firm except for the sounding boards, which were imported from the USA. He was the sole agent for Paul Kaul violins (placing that department under the supervision of the Belgian Ulysse Salme) and also represented Holton, Kohn, and Selmer brass instruments. The firm was incorporated in 1937 and took the name of Ed Archambault Inc. In 1930 Archambault moved into a seven-storey building which he had erected on Ste-Catherine St East. There he worked until struck down by illness in April 1946.

He was succeeded by his nephews, Edmond (d Montreal 29 Jan 1995), Pierre and Rosaire Archambault, assisted by Camille Duquette (b Montreal 19 Aug 1900, d 1980, a pupil of Jean-Noël Charbonneau at the Schola cantorum). Duquette had been in charge of the religious music department at Archambault's 1917-19, then had worked for A.J. Boucher, among others, before returning in 1925 to Archambault, where he served 1929-42 as general manager. After a period, 1942-8, with C.W. Lindsay & Co, he returned again to Archambault, where he served 1948-77 as head of music and publishing and of the sheet music department. Concurrently he was choirmaster 1919-36 at the St-Sacrement Church in Lachine and 1936-66 at the St-Jacques-le-Mineur Church. In 1990 the firm was directed by Edmond III and Rosaire II under the name Archambault Musique, which had been adopted in 1983; in addition to opening a branch in Trois-Rivières, Archambault had acquired Musique d'Auteuil in Quebec City.

In 1901 Archambault began to publish works by Canadian composers. He acquired the rights for the Édition de la Schola cantorum in 1917 and the Édition Belgo-Canadienne ca 1929. Among the composers published by Archambault were Brassard, Champagne, Contant, Dela, J.-J. Gagnier, Gratton, Eugène Lapierre, Albert Larrieu, Ernest Lavigne, Léo-Pol Morin, Clermont Pépin, Émiliano Renaud, Micheline Coulombe Saint-Marcoux, Georges-Émile Tanguay, and Éthelbert Thibault. The firm also published instruction materials by Oswald Michaud, Albertine Morin-Labrecque, Al Stoupanse, and several others. Plate numbers were used occasionally. Works by composers who were members of CAPAC were published under the imprint of Archambault itself, and those of affiliates of PRO Canada were published under the imprint L'Industrie musicale. Archambault also established in 1952 the Alouette recording label, which offered LPs of a variety of music at popular prices, and in 1959 the Select label, whose catalogue featured classical, popular, and religious music as well as educational recordings. Both labels were distributed in Quebec by Archambault and in the rest of Canada by London and others.

In the monthly Entre-Nous (1929-31) the chief editor, Frédéric Pelletier, has given an account of the history and activities of the Archambault firm. Recorded therein are the founder's efforts on behalf of music education. Archambault assisted the Conservatoire national of Montreal from the time of its foundation (1905), placing some rent-free premises at the disposal of Alphonse Lavallée-Smith for classes and administration. Moreover, in 1928 he ceded all his shares in this establishment to Eugène Lapierre, who at that time took over its reorganization. The firm also founded the Prix Archambault (1940-63).


Further Reading

  • Pelletier, Frédéric. 'La Maison Ed. Archambault,' Entre-Nous, vol 1, Dec 1929

    Denis, Louis. 'De progrès en progrès La Maison Edmond Archambault,' Notre Temps, vol 1, 6 Dec 1945

    Saint-Gelais, G. 'Rosaire Archambault co-propriétaire Ed. Archambault Inc.,' Revue Commerce, vol 67, Oct 1965

    Laurier, Andrée. 'Archambault Musique: de la rampe de lancement à l'orbite culturelle,' Musicien québécois, vol 1, 15 Jun-15 Aug 1989

    Lemay, Daniel. 'Industries culturelles: Quebecor vient d'avaler Archambault Musique,' Montreal La Presse, 4 Nov 1995