A Special Performance

by Dr. Derek Nickels, Music Director

Charles-Marie Widor's famous Toccata from his Fifth Organ Symphony is often associated with Easter and other festive occasions, including weddings. However, Widor's last organ symphony, the Symphonie Romane, is based entirely on portions of two Gregorian chants for the Easter season: the Haec dies (an antiphon text that is used as the gradual on Easter Sunday), and the Victimae Paschali (another text associated with Easter Sunday). Completed and premiered by the composer in January 1900, it is dedicated to the Romanesque Basilica of St. Sernin in Toulouse, France, which houses one of the magnificent instruments built by the legendary organ builder Aristade Cavaillé-Coll. I will be performing this work along with two other French pieces by Jean-Jules Roger-Ducasse and Jean Langlais on Sunday, April 17th at 3:00 p.m. at Loyola University's Madonna della Strada Chapel, 1032 W. Sheridan Road in Chicago. If you've never been to Madonna della Strada, it is certainly worth the drive down Sheridan. Parking in the adjacent parking garage is free on Sundays.