I’ll confess that when I agreed to Signum Classics’ request to record the complete organ works of Charles Marie Widor, I had no idea it would attract such sustained and prolonged interest – and often from people who have little affinity or love of the organ!

Following my studies with Marie Claire Alain in Paris for two carefree years (how I look back with wistful envy to 1998-2000!), by far my main focus was on the French Romantic repertoire. We worked on a great deal of Dupré – Alain was a pupil of Dupré, and of course through lineage, Widor – as well as Vierne, Durufle etc., but it is the musical voice of Widor with which I feel the most natural musical connection.

I believe that Widor is, after Bach, the most important composer to have written for the organ. Widor’s use of form, scale, texture, melody and rhythm are truly orchestral, and this is what sets him apart from all the usual organist composer suspects. The wonderful book, A Life beyond the Toccata, by John R Near is essential reading when it comes to the life and work of...

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