Posts tagged ‘Cesar Franck’

May 4, 2014

2014-05-04 Notes from the Bench

“Toccata” from Organ Symphonie No. 5 by Charles-Marie Widor

A commentary on this week’s music by Dr. James T. Gerber, Music Associate


Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937), born in Lyon, France, is among the best-known composers of French symphonic organ literature and was an internationally famous recitalist, having performed concerts throughout Europe. Widor wrote music for operas, ballets, choirs, solo voice, orchestra, small ensembles, and piano, however his organ works are his best-known compositions and performed with the greatest frequency. Widor composed ten organ “symphonies,” multi-movement works for solo organ that were inspired by the symphonies composed for orchestra. The organ symphony genre utilized the tonal resources of the symphonic organ and imitated the orchestral timbres, textures, effects, and the symphonic process. The Toccata is the final movement of the Organ Symphonie No. 5, composed in 1879. This fiery and grandiose movement with its perpetual motion and rhythmic figures is Widor’s best-known work.



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April 28, 2013

2013-04-28 Notes from the Bench

“Messe Solennelle” by Jean Langlais
A commentary on this week’s music by Scott Youngs, Director of Music

Jean Langlais’ “Messe Solennelle” was written in 1951, and although it is not strictly based on plainsong, it is certainly influenced by it. You will recognize the parallel fifths and octaves; an almost organum-like treatment juxtaposed with harsh discards. True counterpoint begins in the “Gloria,” which begins as a fugue. Langlais’ writing is extremely chromatic, and that is reflected in the number of accidentals (flats & sharps) in every measure. The great washes of color and dramatic chords set the Mass in a way that conveys power and mystery in the language of French chromaticism.

We are delighted to have Canto Vivo joining the Chamber Choir of All Saints’ to sing the ordinary of the Mass as set by Jean Langlais. Canto Vivo, a program of Mesa Community College, rehearses here at All Saints’ and performs choral concerts here throughout the year. Having them with us for a service is a very special treat, and will introduce you to their fine work. Please watch for their concerts here in the future!

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November 18, 2012

2012-11-18 Notes from the Bench

A commentary on this week’s music by Dr. James Gerber, Music Associate

“Allegro Cantabile” by Charles-Marie Widor

Widor composed ten organ “symphonies,” which are multi-movement works that parallel the large symphonic form of works written for orchestra during the nineteenth century.  “Allegro Cantabile” is the second movement from Widor’s Organ Symphony Number Five in F-minor, the work that the famous “Toccata” is from.  In contrast to the perpetual motion style of Widor’s best-known movement, this one resembles a contemplative “song without words,” with hauntingly beautiful melodies and makes use of the more subtle resources of the organ.

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October 10, 2010

2010-10-10 6:30 PM Choral Evensong & Organ Recital – Scott Alan Youngs

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