Widor on Organ Performance Practice and Technique

May 2019
43 line illustrations
168 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781580469449
Format: Hardback
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MUS050000, MUS023030, MUS007000

Widor on Organ Performance Practice and Technique

John R. Near

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 works of 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 and augments 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 University of Rochester Press.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781787445055), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.

Table of Contents

Introduction: "You know Bach, you know all"
"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"
Excerpts from Widor's Preface to Jean-Sébastien Bach-Ouvres complètes pour orgue, Vols. 1-4, and Correlative Commentary
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

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