Volume 1 in a new collection of Charles-Marie Widor’s Organ Symphonies, performed by Joseph Nolan on the magnificent Cavaillé-Coll organ of L’église de la Madeleine, Paris.
Bridging the generations from Mendelssohn to Messiaen, Empire to Republic, Widor was born to the organ. His Lyonnaise kinsfolk were organ-builders, he showed early talent for the instrument, and for decades was the embodiment of its might and splendour across the Gallic domain – his ‘Organ Symphonies’ were genre-defining in their influence.
Joseph Nolan is an internationally renowned organist, acclaimed as ‘brilliant and such an astute musician’ (Gramophone UK). He was appointed to Her Majesty’s Chapels Royal, St James’s Palace in 2004, and has since been invited to perform and record in some of the world’s premiere venues – including the refurbished Organ of Buckingham Palace Ballroom (SIGCD114) and the Organ of Saint-Sulpice in Paris (SIGCD167). The Cavaillé-Coll Organ of La Madeleine, Paris is a similarly renowned instrument, with former chief-organists including Camille Saint-Säens and Gabriel Fauré.
This looks like shaping up to be the Widor Organ Symphonies cycle of the decade – MusicWeb International
Nolan’s interpretations are musically first-class … organ enthusiasts should certainly acquire this disc for the sake of Nolan’s admirable musical intelligence – International Record Review
Nolan hovers over all like some musical demiurge, fleet of feet and fingers as he negotiates the massive chords and filigree passagework of faster movements such as the closing Vivace of Symphony No 6; thoughtful and sensitive yet smouldering with creative tension in slower movements – Limelight Magazine
Gothic music meets Gothic organ here in performances that encompass a broad expressive spectrum from quiet meditation to dramatic thunder and lightning – The Times