This is world class organist Dr. Frederick Hohman performing the Toccata from the Fifth Symphony for Organ Op. 42, No. 5 by Charles-Marie Widor on the 1953 Schantz electro-pneumatic action organ of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey, a work which has been recorded innumerable times by some of the most talented organists around the globe on some of the grandest
pipe organs in the world. This recording clocks in at 6:02 minutes, a brisk tempo not so fast that the moving notes cannot be articulated and the powers at work on the page are destroyed in a meaningless torrent of notes.
Of interest in this video is the excellent camera work, the seemingly effortless control and the fact that every note was memorized,
the well-articulated arpeggios and chords faithful to the score and that legato touch was not substituted for staccato where indicated, the consistent but nuanced tempo whichs keeps the rhythm going without the music sounding mechanical page after page, the
observance of diminuendos as the score indicates, the skillful use of registration and subsidiary manuals, the phrasing in the pedal, and those fabulous end chords correctly timed -- everything combining to bring out all of the majestic powers at work on the
The careful observer will note that 1) for the infamous stretch of a 10th written for the left hand chord
on the 4th beat of measure 8, Dr, Hohman moves the low C in the chord up one octave to retain a 4-note C7 chord but in 2nd inversion, close position, preserving the same harmony but making the chord span a major sixth rather than a major tenth, 2) the pedal
line is doubled at the octave in measure 49 and played one octave lower than written, 3) the high F in the left hand chord on the first beat of measure 63 is taken with the right hand, as expected, and 4) instead of taking the left hand chords beginning on
measure 67 with the left hand on the (Swell) manual above the Great in the octave where written as indicated in the score, requiring the hands to be crossed, these chords are unexpectedly taken an octave lower than written on the (Choir) manual below the Great
with all suboctave stops retired on that manual. Some organists find it easier to play this passage this way. Some also find it more practical to keep both hands on the Great throughout the whole work employing piston changes and, of course, the
swell shoe to effect volume adjustments until this last passage and THEN cross the left hand over the right to go to the Swell.
This is how it's done, friends, and it doesn't get any better than this. We offer Dr. Hohman our compliments and sincerest thanks for recording and posting this fine video on YouTube for public viewing.