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Widor 6 - First Movement


Malcolm Kemp
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Neither of my copies of Widor 6 makes it clear what exactly Widor intended in terms of manuals/couplers/registration in the F sharp minor (2 against 3) section in the middle of the first movement. Especially I am thinking of the section between bars 16 and 25 of that section. Any erudite suggestions, please?

 

Malcolm

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Neither of my copies of Widor 6 makes it clear what exactly Widor intended in terms of manuals/couplers/registration in the F sharp minor (2 against 3) section in the middle of the first movement. Especially I am thinking of the section between bars 16 and 25 of that section. Any erudite suggestions, please?

 

Malcolm

 

 

The way I interpret it, I believe Widor has registered this passage. What he has written may seem to make little sense on an English organ, but it would work well in France. You already have full Recit for the preceding section so when he writes Recit pp for the F sharp minor section, I believe he intends you to keep the same registration but with the box firmly shut. This is the same logic that explains occasions such as Messiaen specifying Full Recit but with the dynamic given as ppp! In summary: the dynamic marking indicates the position of the shutters, not the stops drawn. The French can usually be relied upon to state firmly what registration has to be drawn, not least because these are often prepared at the start of a movement and then activated by means of the ventils.

 

A French Recit is usually quite penetrating in character, but it is frequently the third loudest manual, not the second as in the UK. It was also very commonly placed at the top of the organ, so with the box shut, even 16.8.4 in reeds can sound very distant.

 

As to how to interpret this passage on a British-style organ (where Full Swell with the box shut sounds anything but distant), I would certainly keep reed tone and a 16' stop, but might cut it back to Bourdon, Diapason, Oboe and Principal rather than use any Trumpets or Horns. Distant but clear is what you're probably aiming for.

 

Looking further on in the same movement, there is a note saying (in brackets) anches du Recit, pp. I believe this is a cautionary note, hence the brackets. The idea would be that the Positif and GO fonds are heard 'in the foreground' with the reeds still there in the background. I can appreciate that this explanation might not make anything very clear, and there may well be other interpretations, but that's my opinion for what it's worth.

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The way I interpret it, I believe Widor has registered this passage. What he has written may seem to make little sense on an English organ, but it would work well in France. You already have full Recit for the preceding section so when he writes Recit pp for the F sharp minor section, I believe he intends you to keep the same registration but with the box firmly shut. This is the same logic that explains occasions such as Messiaen specifying Full Recit but with the dynamic given as ppp! In summary: the dynamic marking indicates the position of the shutters, not the stops drawn. The French can usually be relied upon to state firmly what registration has to be drawn, not least because these are often prepared at the start of a movement and then activated by means of the ventils.

 

One has to remember as with all things French, their interpretation is very different to ours, and its a cultural thing. pp is really quite loud, and as for sections like the middle of Franck's Third Chorale, it is essential to have the Recit Trompette and Hautbois for the effect to work, but this is not very quiet! :)

 

J

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One has to remember as with all things French, their interpretation is very different to ours, and its a cultural thing. pp is really quite loud, and as for sections like the middle of Franck's Third Chorale, it is essential to have the Recit Trompette and Hautbois for the effect to work, but this is not very quiet! :)

 

J

 

I have an early edition where the F sharp minor section has the registration marking "Recit Flutes 8, 4 et Hautbois". This seems to make sense and also explains the "Anches Recit" direction later.

 

Best wishes

Robert

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