Widor: A Life beyond the Toccata brings to light the life and work of one of France's most distinguished musicians in the most complete biography in any language of Charles-Marie Widor. He is considered one of the greatest organists of his time, a prolific composer in nearly every genre, professor of organ and composition at the Paris Conservatory, academician and administrator at the Institute of France, journalist, conductor, music editor, scholar, correspondent, inspired visionary, and man of deep culture.
An appendix constitutes the most complete listing ever compiled of Widor's oeuvre. Each work is dated as accurately as possible and includes the publisher, plate number, dedicatee, and relevant commentary. Another appendix lists Widor's complete published writings, other than the scores of press reviews he penned over several decades.
Widor: A Life beyond the Toccata illuminates the life and work of one of France's most distinguished yet neglected musicians of the belle époque.
John Near is William Martin and Mina Merrill Prindle Professor of Fine Arts and college organist at Principia College.
A book to treasure. CHURCH MUSIC QUARTERLY [John Henderson]
Invaluable. . . . In Near's genial, well-paced narrative, a portrait of a highly erudite and humorous man emerges -- Widor's intimate recollections of such luminaries as Rossini, Anton Rubinstein and LIszt fizz with vitality. . . . A rich source of contemporary material and . . . a lively picture of Parisian musical life from the 1860s to 1937. . . . Beautifully produced and designed. GRAMOPHONE [Jeremy Nicholas]
Excellent translation. . . . A fruitful resource for scholars and Francophiles alike. CHOICE
Eminently readable [with] photographs not to be found in the published sources. . . . A treasure chest. . . . The final word on the life of a truly great man. . . . A standard of reference and essential reading for all devotees of the French Romantic school.--ORGAN AUSTRALIA [Harold Fabrikant]
John R. Near has honoured his subject by combining powerfully muscular English prose with research so staggeringly comprehensive as to be what fashionable circles would call 'a game-changer.' . . . New insights aplenty. . . . A pleasure to read and to own. THE ORGAN [R. J. Stove] Complete review reprinted at http://www.rjstove.net/articles/Widor-Organ_Salisbury.pdf
The definitive work about the composer of one of the two most famous organ pieces in the world [the Toccata from Organ Symphony No. 5]. John Near struck pay dirt when he located a 103-page manuscript of an unpublished "Souvenirs Autobiographiques" [that] allows Widor to speak for himself and allows his biographer many opportunities to elucidate those events. Absolutely indispensable! THE AMERICAN ORGANIST [Rollin Smith]
John Near -- editor of the critical edition of Widor's ten organ symphonies -- is unquestionably the authority on the organist-composer. In this book he gives us an encyclopedic memoir, containing many new details about Widor's life and work. Without any doubt this biography will remain the definitive resource in the organ world and beyond.
--Daniel Roth, Organiste-titulaire du grand orgue de l'Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris
The documentation is wonderfully rich--would that we had something comparable for earlier composers. . . . A major achievement. . . . A wealth of revealing information. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENTt [Peter Williams] Detailed, richly documented account of Widor's long and fascinating life. . . Definitive. MUSIC LIBRARY ASSOCIATION