Symphony No. 1
Guy Weitz (1883-1970) was born in Verviers, Belgium in 1883. After completing piano and organ studies in his hometown and nearby Liège, Weitz travelled to Paris to commence studies at the Schola Cantorum, which included organ, piano, composition, and Gregorian chant (a subject central to much of Weitz' creative life thereafter). On his official return to Liège in 1909, Weitz commenced duties as an organist, conductor, and teacher, but with the outbreak of World War I in 1914, he fled with his wife to Britain. He played concerts for the war effort, was appointed organist of Farm Street Church in 1917, and steadily built up a career as an organ recitalist. He remained an active organist, teacher, and composer until the time of his retirement from Farm Street in 1967 after 50 years as the church's organist.
The main influence for Weitz' Symphony No. 1, published in 1951, is the world of Widor and Vierne, the giants of the Parisian organ loft of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Each of its three plainchant-based movements is clearly suggestive of the rhetoric and stylistic techniques of these "symphonic" composers, particularly Vierne in its manner of presenting thematic material and in its use of a colorful harmonic palette. The Symphony also shows a musical and technical affinity with music by Weitz' contemporary, Marcel Dupré.