Widor: Complete Organ Works Vol 2 / Ben Van Oosten

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Charles-Marie Widor is remembered now only as a composer of music for the organ, though in his day he wrote for every combination of instruments, including the symphony orchestra. Coming from a family associated with the organ, it seemed natural that this instrument would be his first love. He became friendly with Astride Cavaillé-Coll, who took it on himself to further young Widor's career. Cavaillé-Coll was responsible for a new era in French organ building, working tirelessly to invent and implement improvements that would give the organ something of the range and capability of a symphony orchestra. With such modern instruments being designed and built, it seemed inevitable that the organ "symphony" would come into being.


Widor's first four outings in the format are actually more like suites. Except for the first two movements of Symphony No. 4, the themes of sections have little to do with each other. These days, the movements are liable to be played separately as concert pieces and work quite well that way, each standing independently on its own. Taken as a whole, the result seems overlong and too ruminative to hold a casual listener's interest, which explains why the complete works have become the exclusive purview of organists. The performances here are on a Cavaillé-Coll organ at Saint-François-de-Sales in Lyon--an instrument that Widor played, so we can presume that the sound is authentic. Organist Ben van Oosten has made a lifelong study of this music and plays it with authority and imagination. The recording sounds a bit remote: Perhaps in an effort to capture the large instrument, the engineers backed off slightly, resulting in a clean and clear acoustic, but one that is devoid of immediate presence. Organists will rejoice at this series; casual listeners will find the greatest reward by taking them a movement at a time.
--Rad Bennett, ClassicsToday.com


Product Description:


  • Catalog Number: 3160402-2


  • UPC: 760623040226


  • Label: MDG


  • Composer: Charles-Marie Widor


  • Performer: Ben van Oosten