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Classiscsonline Home » Composers » W » Widor, Charles-Marie



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Charles-Marie Widor (2/21/1844 - 3/12/1937)

Widor occupies an important position in the idiosyncratic tradition of French organ music, serving as organist at St Sulpice in Paris for 64 years. His organ pupils included Tournemire, Vierne, Albert Schweitzer and Marcel Dupré, and his composition pupils Honegger and Milhaud. As well as organ music, he wrote chamber, choral, vocal and orchestral works, including symphonies that also involve the organ.

Organ Music

Much of Widor’s organ music calls for the full resources of the great instruments made for major Paris churches by Cavaillé-Coll. Of particular interest are Widor’s ten organ symphonies, including the ninth, the Symphonie gothique. Some movements from the symphonies have won a special position in virtuoso repertoire, in particular the famous Toccata that ends Symphony No. 5 and the Marche pontificale of Symphony No. 1.

Orchestral Music

Three of Widor’s five symphonies include the organ in their instrumentation, the Third Symphony, Symphonie antique and Sinfonia sacra. His symphonic poem La Nuit de Walpurgis (‘Walpurgis Night’) is scored for chorus and orchestra, and the Ouverture espagnole suggests the interest in Spain that led Widor to establish a house in Madrid for French musicians. He left two piano concertos and a Fantaisie for piano and orchestra, with a Cello Concerto.

Chamber Music

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Discography


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