Widor on Organ Performance Practice and Technique
Title Details

168 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

43 line illus.

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Widor on Organ Performance Practice and Technique

by John R Near

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
Widor's pedagogical writings, translated for the first time, offer essential guidance for interpreting his organ compositions as well as those of his followers in the French Romantic organ school.
Renowned organist, composer, and Paris Conservatory professor Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) was a leading figure of the French Romantic organ school. In the extensive Preface he wrote for his edition of the complete organ worksof J. S. Bach, Widor conveyed what he considered to be the essential maxims of organ performance practice and technique. Given that he felt that "the art of organ playing has not changed at all since Johann Sebastian Bach," the principles detailed in his highly articulate writings can be seen today as relevant to his own organ compositions as well as those of his circle of followers.

In Widor on Organ Performance Practice and Technique,John Near translates for the first time all the statements from Widor's Bach Preface that reflect his distinctive and influential approach to performance style and artistic awareness. Correlative source material that clarifies andaugments these passages is included after the translations.

To complement the pedagogical material and bring a broader view of Widor's involvement in all things pertaining to the organ, his four most significant writings about the organ and organ playing are included in the appendixes.

JOHN R. NEAR is Professor Emeritus of Music, Principia College. His publications include Widor: A Life beyond the Toccata, available from theUniversity of Rochester Press.
Introduction: "You know Bach, you know all"
PART 1. BACKGROUND
"Art does not know the absolute"
"The art of organ playing has not changed at all since Johann Sebastian Bach"
"In France we have neglected performance much too much in favor of improvisation"
PART 2. MAXIMS
Excerpts from Widor's Preface to Jean-Sébastien Bach-Ouvres complètes pour orgue, Vols. 1-4, and Correlative Commentary
Pace
Phrasing
Registration
The Use of the Manuals
Changing Manuals
Appendix 1: Symphonies pour orgue
Appendix 2: Technique de l'orchestre moderne
Appendix 3: Initiation musicale
Appendix 4: L'orgue moderne; La décadence dans la facture contemporaine
Appendix 5: Widor's Own Performance Indications in the Symphonie gothique
Bibliography
"[A] welcome investment by teachers and serious performers interested in Widor's music and late nineteenth-century French interpretations of JS Bach's organ music." David Ponsford, JOURNAL OF THE BRITISH INSTITUTE OF ORGAN STUDIES
"Essential reading for any serious student of the French Romantic style. Another major milestone in the journey towards recognition of this undeservedly neglected genius." ORGAN AUSTRALIA
"Encapsulates all Widor's pedagogical philosophy, rules for organ playing, and practical advice . . . all translated into elegant English. The advice he gives is so astute that it works for music of all time." Rollin Smith, AMERICAN ORGANIST
"Translated for the first time, Widor's pedagogical writings suggest crucial advice in interpreting his organ compositions as well as those of his contemporaries from the French Romantic organ school." THE SYDNEY ORGAN JOURNAL
"John Near's most recent study of Charles-Marie Widor, Widor's Maxims on Organ Performance Practice and Technique, has as its primary goal to bring together all of the available information, drawn from Widor's own writing and from that of his contemporaries, that illuminates Widor's views on organ playing. In this, he has been eminently successful." William Porter, Eastman School of Music
"Many details on performance practice are packed into this slender volume; organists will have much to take away from it and to apply to late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French organ repertoire." Annette Richards, BACH Journal
"Extraordinarily useful in illuminating the Maître's mind...level-headed, impatient with dilettantish mystification, and unfailingly clear...This handsomely printed and meticulously produced volume [should] find a place on the shelves of anyone possessing the slightest interest in the organ." Robert James Stove, MUSICOLOGY AUSTRALIA

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May 2019

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Title Details

168 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

43 line illus.

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press