Organ playing is the manifestation of a will filled with the vision of eternity.Charles-Marie WidorDid you know, that Charles-Marie Widor, well-known for his organ symphonies, wrote some exquisite art songs,too?
His songs show a composer of refined artistry, profiting from his deep knowledge and understanding of the work of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Charles-Marie Jean Albert Widor (1844-1937) was one of the most influential french organists of the turn of the century. Born in Lyon, to a family of organ builders Widor was, at the age of 25, appointed as “provisional” organist of Saint-Sulpice in Paris, the most prominent position for a French organist. Widor remained as organist at St-Sulpice for 64 years.
In 1890 Widor succeeded César Franck as organ professor at the Paris Conservatoire. As a basis for improvisation Widor demanded of his students a great technique and the knowledge of J.S. Bach’s organ works. In 1896 he gave up this post to become composition professor at the same institution. Widor taught several well known students in Paris, among them Marcel Dupré, Louis Vierne, Darius Milhaud, Edgard Varèse and the Canadian Henri Gagnon. He collaborated with his student Albert Schweizer on an edition of J. S. Bach’s organ works.
In 1921, Widor founded the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau with Francis-Louis Casadesus. He was the Director until 1934.
At the age of 76, Widor married the 36-year-old Mathilde de Montesquiou-Fézensac. In 1933, Widor resigned his position at Saint-Sulpice. Three years later he suffered a stroke which paralysed the right side of his body, although he remained mentally alert to the last. He died at his home in Paris on 12 March 1937 at the age of 93.