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Celebrating the pipe organ, the King of Instruments

Charles-Marie Widor and Louis Vierne
Charles-Marie Widor and Louis Vierne

Four by Four

The pipe organ of 19th century France offered players a virtual symphonic soundscape, and this week we’ll listen to a pair of works that exploit those resources to the full. Charles-Marie Widor at the Church of Saint Sulpice, was the first to thoroughly articulate a symphonic organ style, creating scores rich in color and virtuosity. Widor’s pupil and colleague, Louis Vierne at Notre Dame Cathedral, increased the emotional intensity of the genre to embrace passion, heartbreak and rage.

Nine soloists on as many instruments play the Fourth Symphonies by this pair of famous composers, creating the grandest sort of sonic experience. We’re not kidding when we say it’s as simple as Four by Four.

Program Broadcast dates:

  • July 14, 2003

Music played in the program

CHARLES-MARIE WIDOR: Symphony Number 4 in f, Opus 13 [1887]
1st movement, ToccataCharles Krigbaum (1929 Skinner/Woolsey Hall, Yale University, New Haven, CT) AFKA SK-522
2nd movement, FugueHerman van Vliet (1880 Cavaillé-Coll/Église Saint-François-de-Sales, Lyon, France) Festivo FECD-143/144
3rd movement, Andante CantabileGünther Kaunzinger (1990 Jann/Waldsassen Basilica, Germany) Novalis CD-150085
4th movement, ScherzoSuzanne Chaisemartin (1868 Cavaillé-Coll/La Trinité, Paris, France) Motette CD MOT 11131
5th movement, Adagio –Patrice Caire (1886 Merklin; 1960 Kuhn; Nicolle, Valentin, Meslé/Sanctuaire Saint-Bonaventure, Lyon, France) REM CD-11010
6th movement, FinaleBen van Oosten (1880 Cavaillé-Coll/Église Saint-François-de-Sales, Lyon, France) Dabringhaus und Grimm MDG 316 0402

LOUIS VIERNE: Symphony Number 4 in g, Opus 32 [1914]
1st movement, PreludeChristine Kamp (1888 Cavaillé-Coll/Basilique Saint-Sernin, Toulouse, France) Festivo 6941 762
2nd movement, Allegro –Iain Simcock (1932 Henry Willis & Sons/Westminster Cathedral, London, England, UK) Priory PRCD425
3rd movement, MenuetThomas Dahl (1996 Winterhalter/Church of Our Lady, Achern, Germany) Organum CD-970037
4th movement, RomanceBen van Oosten (1880 Cavaillé-Coll/Église Saint-François-de-Sales, Lyon, France) Dabringhaus und Grimm MDG 3213/4
5th movement, FinalPierre Cochereau (1868 Cavaillé-Coll/Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France) Solstice CD-913

Ben van Oosten has recorded all of the Widor and Vierne symphonies. He will be featured during a festival symposium, The Life and Music of Louis Vierne, July 27-30, 2003, at House of Hope Presbyterian Church, 797 Summit Ave., Saint Paul, MN