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ONe of the most influential Organists in History, the French composer was assistant to Saint-Saens and successor of Franck.

He has 9 symphonies for organ alone. The 5th is a favorite of mine, with the famous toccata in the finale.

ANyone else?
 

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I have just acquired the Naxos cd of "organ favourites" by Widor. My first exposure to Widor was upon hearing the famous Toccata live in concert about 20 years ago. It's such a colourful and upbeat piece. I also like the Symphony No. 5 which it concludes. It begins with a theme and variations, then a slow movement which hints at the theme of the finale, then the final Toccata: Allegro. A very unified piece. & probably quite innovative: Vaughan Williams used basically the same format in his Symphony No. 8 (1950's), except he inserted a scherzo.

Of the other pieces on the cd, I especially enjoyed the slow movement of the Symphony No. 4 - very simple & lyrical. Also, the opening movement of Symphony No. 6, which has this amazing crescendo (very virtuostic). The slow movement from the Symphonie Gothique has this meditative feel, appropriate for a large cathedral of the title. Widor's Bach Memento is also interesting, it includes transcription's of Bach's pieces, as well as more free (Lisztian?) fantasias based upon them.

I really enjoyed this disc and look forward to attending some organ recitals where I hope the organist will play a piece of two by this great composer. Hugely influential, he taught people like Dupre and Schweitzer. He also knew all of the great composers of the time - Rossini, Liszt, Meyerbeer & Saint-Saens. A person who really dedicated his life to music, and in particular, the organ (king of instruments, no less)...
 

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Widor also wrote some really good chamber music.

His Suite for flute and piano (op 34) and his Piano trio (op 19) are very enjoyable.
 

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Update: The van Oosten disc arrived, and I must say the renditions are quite excellent. I've heard Widor in recitals before, of course (if you go to many organ recitals, it's a given), but Oosten's sound is uniquely suited to these romantic works. The registration is incredibly varied yet always tasteful, the dynamics are wonderful, and in general I would recommend it in a heartbeat. Thanks for telling me about him!
 

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I'm just starting to listening to Widor's music -- besides his organ works. The Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra, op. 62 is good, but those by Saint-Saens and Debussy are better IMO. Does anyone have recommendations for non-organ Widor compositions?
 

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Charles Marie Widor?

ONe of the most influential Organists in History, the French composer was assistant to Saint-Saens and successor of Franck.

He has 9 symphonies for organ alone. The 5th is a favorite of mine, with the famous toccata in the finale.

ANyone else?
 
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I have the Oosten set also. As is probably pretty common, I heard the toccata on its own first, which made me look further into his work.
My mother and father had that Toccata played in place of a wedding march at St. Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, in 1949!! It has become a bit of cliche today, but Widor did compose some wonderful work. I love the church organ anyway.
 

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ONe of the most influential Organists in History, the French composer was assistant to Saint-Saens and successor of Franck.

He has 9 symphonies for organ alone. The 5th is a favorite of mine, with the famous toccata in the finale.

ANyone else?
There are actually 10 symphonies for organ alone- the last 2 being titled "Gothique" and Romane."
 
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