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Anyone who plays Widor’s organ symphonies on the basis of the old editions published between 1872 and 1920 will be familiar with the difficulties of approaching this music, due to the enormous number of errors and inconsistencies in the musical text. The complicated copyright situation is directly linked to the problem of the text: Widor’s work fell into the public domain in 1987 in the United States, but only in 2007 in the European Union. John NEAR’s first complete American edition went unchallenged in Europe for 20 years, which gave it time to establish itself and to be considered by many as the reference edition – with all the errors it peddled.


In parallel with the edition presented a few years ago by Carus, the Belgian composer and organist Luc Dupuis […] has just published a complete and critical, but at the same time very practical, edition of all Widor’s symphonies. As someone who has been familiar with Widor’s organ works for more than half a century, Dupuis has also been confronted with the countless errors contained in older editions, which continue to be produced and to raise questions to this day. The changes that Dupuis has made to the transmitted musical text can be explained by a very well-founded discernment from the point of view of compositional technique, but also are primarily reflected in the revision of the partly disastrous musical image of the first editions, which Dupuis has transposed into a clearly legible horizontal layout.


Consequently, this edition is the result of several decades of study of Widor’s work: it departs from the traditional practices of scientific and critical editions in that it does not overload the musical text with notes, brackets and cross-references of all kinds. Each intervention is precisely indicated by an editorial note at the end of the score, which can be read at anyone’s discretion. Everyone is free to decide how much they want to read, in order to improve the readability of the edition. This ensures that editorial decisions remain comprehensible (and are also fully translated into English). The volumes are accompanied by prefaces by the composer – also bilingual – as well as fundamental remarks on the interpretation of the music of Widor and his school.


The editions are published on a self-publishing basis and are available on the publisher’s website in printed form (if the collections are purchased in the practical ring-binder layout) or at a reduced price as a PDF download; their great advantage lies in the ease with which they can be read and turned over, and consequently in the practical handling of the volumes, which is due to the publisher’s remarkable experience.


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Birger Petersen, Forum Kirchenmusik, pages 43 - 46 (Germany), translated from German

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