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20.02.2023
The most popular wedding music ever
Many a bride and groom have left the church to the sound of “the Widor”, as it’s often called. It certainly provides something of a challenge for your average parish organist to pull off successfully!

The French composer Charles-Marie Widor wrote a total of ten organ symphonies, the most popular of them remains to be the Toccata from No.5, as it is one of the most regularly requested wedding pieces in the world. Many a bride and groom have left the church to the sound of “the Widor”, as it’s often called. It certainly provides something of a challenge for your average parish organist to pull off successfully! The Toccata first became popular around 1880: the combination of rather frantic right-hand decorative lines with sturdy, anthemic melody notes from the pedals of the organ became a pretty instant hit. Although referred to as a “symphony”, this work does not fit that title in the traditional sense – and nor do Widor’s other organ symphonies, for that matter. Rather, we can only assume that the term refers to the composer’s full use of the organ’s range and musical colour, in much the same way that other composers employ all elements of the orchestra’s possibilities when writing a standard symphony. Widor himself was a master of the instrument: he succeeded his fellow French composer César Franck as Professor of Organ at the Paris conservatoire.

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