Charles-Marie Widor
Charles-Marie Widor
Wikimedia Commons

One on One #2044

Grandeur and majesty. Passion and poetry. These are the elements of a new musical style that evolved in Paris in the latter 19th-century which revolutionized the art of the organ. On our next Pipedreams broadcast, we’ll hear two ‘firsts’ - two symphonic works for solo organ by Charles-Marie Widor and his pupil and, ultimately, competitor, Louis Vierne. Inspired by the sonorities of the lavish new instruments designed by master organ builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, both Widor, who was the first to call a composition an organ symphony, and Vierne created musical masterpieces that are both a challenge to play and a joy to hear.

Louis Vierne
Louis Vierne

CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR: Prélude, from Organ Symphony Number 1 in c, Opus 13, number 1 –Ben van Oosten (1898 Cavaillé-Coll/Church of Santa Maria la Real, Azkoitia, Spain) Dabringhaus und Grimm MDG 316 0401

CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR: Allegretto, from Symphony Number 1 –Patrice Caire (1886 Merklin; 1960 Kuhn; Nicolle, Valentin, Meslé/Sanctuaire Saint-Bonaventure, Lyon, France) REM CD-311168

CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR: Intermezzo, from Symphony Number 1 –Günther Kaunzinger (1990 Jann/Waldsassen Basilica, Germany) Novalis CD 150 073

CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR: Adagio, from Symphony Number 1 –Suzanne Chaisemartin (1868 Barker; 1899 Cavaillé-Coll; 1961 Beuchet-Debierre; 1987 Dargassies/Église St. Augustin, Paris, France) Motette CD MOT 11221

CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR: Marche Pontificale, from Symphony Number 1 –Hans Fagius (1976 Åkerman & Lund/Katarina Church, Stockholm, Sweden) BIS-CD-471

CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR: Méditation, from Symphony Number 1 –Charles Krigbaum (1929 Skinner/Woolsey Hall, Yale University, New Haven, CT) AFKA SK-521

CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR: Finale, from Symphony Number 1 –Herman van Vliet (1890 Cavaillé-Coll/Église Saint-Ouen, Rouen, France) Festivo FECD-143/144

LOUIS VIERNE: Prélude, from Organ Symphony Number 1 in d, Opus 14 –Pierre Cochereau (1868 Cavaillé-Coll/Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France) Solstice CD-911

LOUIS VIERNE: Fugue, from Symphony Number 1 –Marie-Claire Alain (1885 Cavaillé-Coll/Abbaye aux Hommes [Saint-Etienne], Caen, France) Erato ECD-45485

LOUIS VIERNE: Pastorale, from Symphony Number 1 –Ben van Oosten (1880 Cavaillé-Coll/Église Saint-François-de-Sales, Lyon, France) Dabringhaus und Grimm MDG 3211/12

LOUIS VIERNE: Allegro vivace, from Symphony Number 1 –François-Henri Houbart (1845 Cavaillé-Coll/Église de la Madeleine, Paris, France) Pierre Verany 788013

LOUIS VIERNE: Andante, from Symphony Number 1 –Günther Kaunzinger (1990 Jann/Waldsassen Basilica, Germany) Koch-Schwann CD-315000

LOUIS VIERNE: Final, from Symphony Number 1 –Michael Murray (1890 Cavaillé-Coll/Église Saint-Ouen, Rouen, France) Telarc CD-80329

The majority of the performers listed here have recorded the entire respective works by themselves, and some have essayed the complete cycle of symphonies by Widor, who wrote ten, and Vierne, who wrote six.