Charles-Marie Widor

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Synopsis[edit]

French composer, organist, teacher

  • 1844, born in Lyon, France
  • 1863, Brussels, studied organ with Lemmens and composition with Fétis
  • 1870, Paris, appointed provisional organist at St. Sulpice
  • 1890, Paris, professor of organ at Paris Conservatoire
  • 1896, Paris, professor of composition at Paris Conservatoire
  • 1910, elected to the Académie des Beaux-Arts
  • 1914, became permanent secretary to Académie des Beaux-Arts
  • 1937, died in Paris, France

Charles-Marie Widor was a great French composer of the late Romantic tradition. His father, the organist of St. François, was his first teacher. He later studied with Jacques Lemmens in Brussels. Even as a boy, Widor was a skilled improviser. By 1860, at age 16, he replaced his father as the organist at St François. In 1869 he became the organist at St. Sulpice, a position he did not relinquish until 1934 - he was 90 years old. In 1890 Widor succeeded Franck as a professor of organ at the Paris Conservatory. Among his pupils was the famed Albert Schweitzer.

Widor was the first great composer in the symphonic organ style. His ten organ symphoniesp - his most important musical contribution - are all large-scale concert works. Many employ the French toccata style, which features fast sixteenth note figurations over solo pedal. Typical of Widor is bravura piano technique in the organ medium. Widor only included religious themes in his final 2 symphonies, the Symphonie Gothique (op. 70) and the Symphonie Romaine (op. 73).

For details, see the Wikipedia article on Charles-Marie Widor.

List of Organ Works[edit]

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Opus Title Year
13/1 Symphonie pour orgue No. 1 (Hamelle) 1872
13/2 Symphonie pour orgue No. 2 (Hamelle) 1872
13/3 Symphonie pour orgue No. 3 (Hamelle) 1872
13/4 Symphonie pour orgue No. 4 (Hamelle) 1872
31 Marche américaine (transc. by Marcel Dupré: no. 11 from 12 Feuillets d’Album op. 31, Hamelle)  ????
42/1 Symphonie pour orgue No. 5 (Hamelle) 1879
42/2 Symphonie pour orgue No. 6 (Hamelle) 1879
42/3 Symphonie pour orgue No. 7 (Hamelle) 1887
42/4 Symphonie pour orgue No. 8 (Hamelle) 1879
64 Marche Nuptiale op. 64 (1892) (transc., from Conte d'Avril, Schott) 1892
70 Symphonie Gothique pour orgue (No. 9), (Schott) 1895
73 Symphonie Romane pour orgue (No. 10), (Hamelle) 1900
73+ Bach's Memento (Hamelle) 1925
86 Suite Latine (Durand) 1927
87 Trois Nouvelles Pièces (Durand) 1934

Background and General Perspectives on Performing Widor Organ Works[edit]

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Notes[edit]

  1. This footnote was entered in the "Registration and Organs" section

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