Widor premiered his 5th symphony in 1880, during the dedication recital of the new Cavaillé-Coll organ of Saint-François de Sales in Lyon. The first movement is made of variations perfectly written to showcase the different tones of an ACC organ .
So, these variations are potentially a good test about how the Steinmeyer can handle French symphonic music. IMHO - although it’s the listener the only legitimate judge - it handles it very well all along the variety of tones required by these variations :
Theme, a kind of a schumannian march, on III with Gedekt 16’, Flute 4’ and Oboe 8’ ;
calm whirlings on III Flutes 8-4’ ;
a more agitated variation on all 16-8-4 flues with III reeds 16-8-4
a scherzo or fileuse with RH 16 and 4’ flutes from III, LH unda maris and gamba from II. In France, this variation is nicknamed “La mouche dans le bocal” = “The fly in the jar” because the LH 16ths makes a kind of a bzzz bzzz like a fly captive in a jar and trying vainly to escape.
A choral on all foundations 16-8-4, with the 10 2/3 at the pedal
A kind of a fantasy-toccata-march which begins with a brief quotation, scherzando, of the theme on the III oboe and then alternates the 16-8-4 founds with III reeds / versus the tutti (without octave couplers). With the help of the very efficient swell box, the powerful III reeds make -IMHO – a fantastic job in this last part (see for instance the crescendo from 8:25
which is made with the III swell box only).
The variations have been recorded one after the other one and joined afterwards (so, much less stress on the player ). I confess also that the final chord is much too long, but it was so good to let the beast roar….:-)
Front 100, Rear 100.