Premiere performance by the Wheaton (Illinois) Municipal Band, Dr. Bruce Moss, Conductor, with Professor Tony Payne, Organist.
The Organ Symphony,composed in 1886,was commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society in the UK, and Saint- Saëns travelled across the Channel to conduct its premiere at the old St. James’s Hall, now the site of Le Meridien Hotel in Picadilly.‘I gave everything to it I was able to give,’ said the composer of the work.‘What I have accomplished here,I will never achieve again.’ It has been one of the most popular symphonies in the repertoire, and is one of those rare works that instantly entered the canon of masterpieces and has remained there ever since.Its most famous melody, the radiant theme of the finale, has even entered into popular culture: it has been featured in the 1995 movie Babe and at DisneyWorld’s Epcot Center, and has even been adapted as the anthem of the would-be micronation of Atlantium. Some years ago Paul Noble, the arranger, had the privilege of conducting an orchestral performance of this work. In listening to the recording of that performance, he felt that it would make a magnificent work for the Concert/Wind Band. So he has now produced the arrangement and offered it in several formats: the complete symphony in two movements; the first movement alone; the second movement alone; and the finale alone, beginning with what may be called one of the great C Major chords in music. Organ parts are cued when necessary.