1862 Cavaillé-Coll organ at Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris, France
1862 Cavaillé-Coll organ at Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris, France

High Fives #1131

…composite performances of the most famous of all organ symphonies (by Charles-Marie Widor), and its somber companion-challenger (by Louis Vierne).

Hour 1

CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR: Symphony Number 5 in F, Opus 42:

1st movement, Allegro vivace, orchestral arrangement by Frank Stewart Adams –Zurich Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Schweizer, conductor; Ulrich Meldau (1988 Kleuker-Steinmeyer/Tonhalle, Zürich, Switzerland) Motette CD MOT 40241

2nd movement, Allegro cantabileDaniel Roth (1862 Cavaillé-Coll/Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris, France) Motette CD MOT 11141

3rd movement, Andantino quasi allegrettoKare Nordstoga (1885 Cavaillé-Coll/Abbaye aux Hommes [Saint-Etienne], Caen, France) Simax CD-1073

4th movement, AdagioBen van Oosten (1890 Cavaillé-Coll/Église Saint-Ouen, Rouen, France) Dabringhaus und Grimm MDG 316 0403

5th movement, ToccataCharles-Marie Widor, recorded in 1932 (1862 Cavaillé-Coll/Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris, France) EMI Classics CDC 55037

5th movement, ToccataJeanne Demessieux (1967 J.W. Walker/Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool, England, UK) Festivo FECD-141

Filler –CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR: Adagio (see above)

Hour 2

LOUIS VIERNE: Marche episcopale, improvisation, recorded in 1928 –Louis Vierne (1868 Cavaillé-Coll/Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France) EMI Classics CDC 55037

LOUIS VIERNE: Organ Symphony Number 5 in a, Opus 47

1st movement, GraveJoseph Ripka (1927 Casavant Frères; 2001 Schantz/St. Andrew Lutheran, Mahtomedi, MN) Pipedreams Archive recorded September 23, 2007. Vierne played the inaugural recital on this instrument in its original home.

2nd movement, Allegro molto marcato, –Jeremy Filsell (1890 Cavaillé-Coll/Église Saint-Ouen, Rouen, France) Signum 063

3rd movement, Tempo di scherzo ma non troppo vivo, –Ben van Oosten (1888 Cavaillé-Coll/Basilique Saint-Sernin, Toulouse, France) Dabringhaus und Grimm MDG 3213/14

4th movement, Larghetto, –Martin Jean (1929 Skinner/Woolsey Hall, Yale University, New Haven, CT) Loft LRCD-1071-74

5th movement, Final, –Pierre Cochereau (1868 Cavaillé-Coll/Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France) Solstice CD-029/30

Filler –CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR: Toccata, –Jeanne Demessieux (see above)


The aesthetic of the organ symphonies of Widor and Vierne was, in large part, shaped by the instruments known to the two composers, primarily the sonorous and innovative creations of master-builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll (1811-1899), whose pipe organs are heard in several of today’s selections and whose 200th birthday anniversary is celebrated this year.

To mark the Cavaillé-Coll Bicentennial, and the 150th anniversary of his magnum opus organ at St. Sulpice in Paris, Fugue State Films will produce a high definition DVD/CD boxed set, available in 2012, the first ever full-length audio/video documentary about Cavaillé-Coll’s life and work. Click for more information.

In most of today’s recordings, the artists heard in individual movements have recorded the entire related work. Ben van Oosten, Charles Krigbaum, Jeremy Filsell, Martin Jean, and Pierre Cochereau have recorded the entire symphony cycles of both composers.

A complete concert performance of all five movements of Louis Vierne’s Fifth Symphony played by the prize-winning young American recitalist Joseph Ripka is available:

, Grave

, Allegro molto marcato

, Tempo di scherzo ma non troppo vivo

, Larghetto

, Final

It was recorded during a Vierne Symphony Marathon presented by the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Guild of Organists at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi, MN. You can also view Ripka’s performance of the Finale to this symphony in a YouTube video recorded at the Church of Saint Sulpice, Paris.