Symphonie no. 1
(1844 –1937) was a French romantic organist, composer and teacher and remembered best for his ten organ symphonies. He is especially remembered for the "Toccata" from his Organ Symphony V.
Widor was born in Lyon to a family of organ builders, and initially studied music there with his father. The French organ builder, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, reviver of the art of organ building, was a friend of the Widor family; he arranged for the talented young organist to go to Brussels to study organ with Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens and composition with François-Joseph Fétis. After this term of study, Widor moved to Paris where he resided for the rest of his life.
In January 1870, with the combined lobbying of Cavaillé-Coll, Saint-Saëns, and Charles Gounod, the 25-year-old Widor was appointed as "provisional" organist of Saint-Sulpice in Paris where he remained for nearly 64 years until the end of 1933. He was succeeded in 1934 by his former student and assistant, Marcel Dupré.
Widor was a prolific composer, writing music for organ, piano, voice and ensembles. Apart from his ten organ symphonies, he also wrote three symphonies for orchestra and organ. The Symphonie no. 1 in G minor is essentially a reworking of movements 1 and 3 from his Symphonie VI in G minor and movement 2 from his Symphonie II in D major. It was premiered at the Palais du Trocadéro in 1882 followed by another concert a month later in Royal Albert Hall.