Titled after the architectural style of the two churches to which they were dedicated, the final two symphonies of Charles-Marie Widor represent his most arresting and original compositions for organ. Written as concert works, these symphonies pay homage to the church through the use of chant themes-the “Gothic” with the Christmas introit, Puer natus est nobis (“Unto us a Child is born”) and the “Romane” with the Easter gradual Haec dies quam fecit Dominus (“This is the day the Lord has made”). These symphonies also pay homage to the great French organ builder, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, who had installed the two greatest instruments of his last years in these two churches. Widor himself played the first performance of the Symphonie gothique in the cathedral of Rouen; the Symphonie romane was dedicated to the basilica of Saint-Sernin in Toulouse. Both symphonies fully exploit the symphonic-scale sounds of the Cavaillé-Coll organ, the inspiration for the Fisk organ of Slee Hall on the campus of the State University of New York at Buffalo. David Fuller is a well-known scholar of French music and brings these late works of Widor to life brilliantly in this recording.
"David Fuller is a distinguished scholar of the French baroque but here shows himself a master and intimate devotee of Widor’s conception not only of music but of organs- the Buffalo Fisk was built under his consultancy and salutes his expertise in every bar of music. Many of the softer sounds do suggest the nineteenth-century French organ, and the build-up of the movements and the many changes of colour are handled well, convincingly evoking the Widor world such as to inspire and student or listener. I can not help thinking the Widor idiom something of a meander, compared to the symphonic grasp of his contemporaries (Mahler, Elgar), but that is no disadvantage for the organist, who can usefully follow Fuller’s way of using the organ to express the formal kaleidoscope. The Swell is particularly successful."
The Organ Yearbook
“...So if you’re looking for a recording of the organ this is worth buying, and I don’t think you will be disappointed.”
The Organ Magazine