Featured Work: Widor: Organ Symphony No. 5, Op. 42, No. 1

Work Name: Organ Symphony No. 5

Key: F minor Form: Organ Symphony Composer: Charles-Marie Widor Year(s): 1879 Period: Romantic Catalogue Number: Op. 42, No. 1


The Symphony for Organ No. 5 in F Minor (Op. 42, No. 1) was composed by Charles-Marie Widor in 1879. It lasts for about thirty-five minutes. Its Toccata is the best known of all of Widor’s compositions.The fifth movement is technically called Toccata in F major of Symphony 5 from Op. 42, no. 1, though it is often referred to as just Widor’s Toccata because it is his most famous piece. It is very joyful and exuberant and lasts around six minutes. Its fame in part comes from its use as recessional music at wedding ceremonies. The melody of the composition is based upon an arrangement of arpeggios which form phrases, initially in F, moving in fifths through to C major, G major, etc. Each bar consists of one phrase. The melody is complemented by syncopated chords, forming an accented rhythm. The phrases are contextualised by a descending bassline beginning with the 7th tone of each phrase key. For example, where the phrase consists of an arpeggio in C major, the bassline begins with a B. This arrangement is surprisingly simple, yet creates a unique dynamic, unrivalled by any former or subsequent composition. It is theoretically an easy piece to learn, but requires an element of discipline, as the composition changes key with every phrase.


Movements and Media

Complete Score in PDF format

1. Allegro vivace 01 Symphony No 5 in F minor, op 42 N
2. Allegro cantabile 02 Symphony No 5 in F minor, op 42 N
3. Andantino quasi allegretto 03 Symphony No 5 in F minor, op 42 N
4. Adagio 04 Symphony No 5 in F minor, op 42 N
5. Toccata – “Widor’s Toccata” 05 Symphony No 5 in F minor, op 42 N
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