Ever since I was a very young child I have gone to bed with a radio on all night at low level. In the beginning this was a tiny Perdio Radio that I would take under the covers so my parents in a nearby room were not aware I was still awake. Eventually of course radios offered ear pieces and this is how I listen now drifting in and out of sleep throughout the night.
Last Tuesday night I was woken by some organ music, the unmistakable sound of Widor’s Toccata. Usually I turn over and drift back to sleep again but this inevitably got my alert attention and I was treated to a very lovely journey.
An explanation of the structure of the piece and stories of both organists and congregations alike for whom this piece has been of great personal significance, including Daniel Roth Titulaire of Saint Sulpice where Widor of course was organist.
And by amazing coincidence a lovely story by organist Katherine Dienes-Williams who first played this piece in public as a young girl in her school carol service in Wellington Cathedral where she later became organ scholar.
Coincidence because Wellington Cathedral is home to our largest Regent Classic digital organ to date and a choral evensong was broadcast from there only a couple of weeks ago. Katherine is now Organist of Guildford Cathedral.
Listen to Widor’s Toccata on BBC Radio 4
Find the time to listen to the stories this amazing work has generated here – BBC Radio 4: Widor’s Toccata.
And give a thought for a sad now ageing insomniac!
Ever since Widor’s Toccata was included in two Royal wedding ceremonies in the 1960’s, this display of fireworks at the organ has become a firm favourite for married couples to exit the Church by in the UK.
Organist Thomas Trotter dissects the music and dispels the myths about playing Widor’s Toccata. Organist Daniel Roth explains what it’s like to be Widor’s direct successor as present day organist at the St Sulpice in Paris. And record producer Simon Cooper talks about hearing a synthesized version of the piece as a 7 year old which switched him on to music for the first time and led him to become a composer himself
Our own recordings of Widor’s Toccata
We have also made a few video recordings of Widor’s music. The first is a recording from Selby Abbey with Dr Joseph Nolan and the second video is from our organ tutorial series with Jonathan Kingston.