Andante Sostenuto from Symphonie Gothique, Op. 70
The term “Gothic” in the title of Charles-Marie Widor’s (1844-1937) Ninth Organ Symphony originates from the distinctive Gothic architecture of the Church of St. Ouen in Rouen, where one of the most famous Cavaillé-Coll pipe organs in France is located. Widor called the instrument “a Michelangelo of an organ.”
The second movement of this organ symphony utilizes a distinctive E-flat-major melody with a few well-placed chromatic twists and turns supported by a repetitive accompaniment. The influence of César Franck is apparent, but the work stands on its own as arguably the most popular piece Widor ever wrote.