Magazine article Gramophone

Widor: Four Organ Symphonies, Op 13

Magazine article Gramophone

Widor: Four Organ Symphonies, Op 13

Article excerpt

Widor

Four Organ Symphonies, Op 13

Christian Schmitt org

CPO [F](2)[SACD] CP0777 705-2 (134' * DDD/DSD)

Played on the Cavaille-Coll organ of the Church of St Ouen, Rouen

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The four symphonies of the Op 13 set originated in 1872. Nowadays we hear them--24 movements in all--in the revised versions that Widor made decades later. Suites in all but name, they betray a range of influences. In No 1, for instance, we hear Bach in the opening 'Prelude', Wagner in the chromatic Adagio and Meyerbeer in the 'Marche pontificale', the symphony's best-known movement. The third (Intermezzo) is a toccata, a prototype for the famous one in Op 42 No 1. Widor's slow movements can descend into ruminative post-communion musings and Op 13 No 2 has five of them, rescued here by the range of colours on offer in St Ouen. Its most striking sections are the 'Pastorale', reminiscent of Franck, and the finale (allegro vivace, fff) with its exciting, motoric pedal figure. The highlights of No 3 are the delightful dialogue in the 'Minuetto' between the solo flute and oboe, and a toccata-like finale built on galloping triplets; No 4 has the popular Andante cantabile movement often heard on its own, and a brilliant Scherzo a la Mendelssohn with a Schumannesque canonic central section. …

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