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Unlike the other symphonies, this begins with an anguished Prelude a model he would reuse in the Fifth. As usual, two themes dominate the work, but this time they are quite similar in nature and content.


Theme A is heard at the outset of the Prelude and Theme B appears in the lower voice of a brief interlude in the middle. The entire arch form of this movement, with its adventurous and challenging chromatic harmonies, is based on the tones of a G-Major triad G-B-D which is the main harmony of the entire work. The Allegro begins in G minor and is in Sonata-Alllegro form, but reverses the position of these two themes. Theme B becomes a martial first theme, and Theme A, the more subtle and lyric. A traditional development is supplanted by an uncharacteristic fugato.

The dramatic return occurs, followed by a coda which teeters on the edge of B-flat Major only to move to G Major as a final stroke.

The typical scherzo is replaced by a more conservative Menuet. Ternary in form, the first theme retains the outline of Theme A, but the melody of the gentle middle section is only vaguely similar to Theme B. The sweeping long melodic line, the undulating accompaniment, and the gentle chromatic harmonies are reminiscent of Widor. The middle section consists of two pairs of shorter phrases based on Theme B each modulating up one step, a technique he will use again in later works.

The Final re-uses the two original themes, but now combined and with surging energy. Like the Prelude, it is built harmonically on the G Major chord, the third tone of which is introduced only in the recapitulation. After a brief and swirling coda, the piece ends in a blazing G Major. Due to increased difficulties with his eyes, Vierne was forced to move to Switzerland for treatment from Vierne returned to Paris in , poor from not having worked, only to see his beautiful instrument in shambles. He set about raising money to re-build the organ through gifts and through the proceeds from numerous concert tours throughout Europe.

Here he was introduced to the person and work of the famous organ builder, Henry Willis. Like the Fourth symphony, the Fifth begins with a somber Grave in which the two main themes, on which the entire piece is based, are heard. Both are built on the interval of a major seventh, Theme A is woven around a descending Major Seventh chord, and the briefer Theme B creates an ascending gesture. At times, the tonal center is completely suppressed due to his heavy use of chromaticism.

The vast second movement Allegro is in Sonata-Allegro form, the first theme of which is the inversion of Theme A, the second theme being an extended version of Theme B. The return boldly brings back Theme A in the full pedal. The Scherzo is a sardonic essay on these two melodies in reverse order. Theme A is introduced in a second softer section and is accompanied by a version of Theme B.

Both this and the Larghetto were written before the other three movements in , this fourth movement having been composed on the banks of Lago Maggiore in Stresa, Italy. This mood, however, gives way to a return of the main theme in the pedal, accompanied by a vibrant undulating string ostinato in the manuals. In true Wagnerian fashion, the deepest struggle between a confident Theme A and anguished Theme B lies herein.

In the interim seven years between the composition of Symphonies Five and Six, Vierne made a second tour of England and a grueling four-month tour of the United States during which he became friends with organist Lynwood Farnam. Additionally, he wrote the second through fourth of his Suites of fantasy pieces. His fame had now spread throughout the Western world, and the Notre Dame organ was restored. They struck up a close personal friendship in , after his return to Paris; she accompanied him on a number of his tours and premiered several vocal compositions by Vierne.

This work shows Vierne at his most mature. He writes with confidence and clarity of expression. Forms are well-balanced and taut, melodies are sweeping and the harmonic language again shows the experimental chromaticism of the fifth symphony, this time with greater mastery. After the exposition, Vierne writes his most extensive development, traveling through the remote tonalities of F-sharp, G, B-flat, D-flat and A. A coda follows the return in the parallel major key.

The Aria is a beautiful yet anguished Lied, based mostly on the clever version of Theme B which here seems to have been stretched out over the length of the keyboard. Only in the gentle coda does Theme A re-appear, this time in D Major and registered on the Ophecleide , a sound found only on American and British organs.

Charles-Marie Widor - Musician - Music database - Radio Swiss Classic

Perhaps Louis Vierne saw in this page the evocation of the fatal destiny that pursued him throughout his life. The devilish Scherzo is comic relief between two serious pieces. Theme B is here collapsed into tone clusters, and Theme A appears as playful staccoto notes for the Basson-Hautbois. The Adagio , in B-flat minor, is the darkest of the five movements and again invokes the expansive spirit of Wagner in the second half.

Vierne returns the original melody but registers it this time for the Voix humaine, one of the few times in the symphonies which he calls for this sound. The sun begins to shines through cloudy skies in the final coda, written in E-flat major. This closing key provides the enharmonic launching point D-sharp of the brief introduction to the Final. This piece is a burlesque. The form is the most transparent Rondo.

The middle section introduces a new melody which is initially somber in style, but when it returns triumphantly in the final section, it is accompanied by a storm of B-major pedal scales. Vierne wrote only a few more pieces in the last seven years of his life. Perhaps it is fitting, therefore, that some of the last notes he composed were of this Final to Symphony No. Later , he gave up this post to become composition professor at the same institution.

Albert Schweitzer also studied with Widor, mainly from ; master and pupil later collaborated on an annotated edition of J. Bach's organ works published in — Widor, whose own master Lemmens was an important Bach exponent, encouraged Schweitzer's theological exploration of Bach's music. Among the leading organ recitalists of his time, Widor visited many different nations in this capacity, including Russia, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Poland and Switzerland.

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He was the Director until , when he was succeeded by Maurice Ravel. His close friend, Isidor Philipp gave piano lessons there, and Nadia Boulanger taught an entire generation of new composers. The year-old Mathilde was a member of one of the oldest and most prominent families of Europe. She died in there were no children from this union.

Symphonie Romane, Op. 73: Movt. 3 Sheet Music by Charles-Marie Widor

On 31 December , at age 89, Widor retired from his position at Saint-Sulpice. Three years later he suffered a stroke which paralysed the right side of his body, although he remained mentally alert to the last. He died at his home in Paris on 12 March at the age of 93, and his remains were interred in the crypt of Saint-Sulpice four days later.

Widor wrote music for a wide variety of instruments and ensembles some of his songs for voice and piano are especially notable and composed four operas and a ballet, but only his works for organ are played with any regularity today. The organ symphonies are his most significant contribution to the organ repertoire. It is unusual for a work written for one instrument to be assigned the term "symphony.

The organ of the Baroque and Classical periods was designed to project a clear and crisp sound capable of handling contrapuntal writing. This new style of organ, with a truly orchestral range of voicing and unprecedented abilities for smooth crescendos and diminuendos, encouraged composers to write music that was fully symphonic in scope. Widor's symphonies can be divided into three groups. The first four symphonies comprise Op. Widor himself called them "collections". They represent Widor's early style.

Widor made later revisions to the earlier symphonies. Some of these revisions were quite extensive. The Fifth Symphony has five movements, the last of which is the famous Toccata. The Seventh Symphony contains six movements, and the first version of the Eighth Symphony had seven.


The ninth and tenth symphonies, respectively termed "Gothique" Op. They both derive thematic material from plainchant: Symphonie Gothique uses the Christmas Day Introit "Puer natus est" in the third and fourth movements, while the Symphonie Romane has the Easter Gradual "Haec dies" woven throughout all four movements.

They also honored, respectively, the Gothic Church of St. Ouen, Rouen and the Romanesque Basilica of St. The second movement of the Symphonie Gothique, entitled "Andante sostenuto", is one of Widor's most-beloved pieces.