Organ symphony

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This article is about the musical genre. For information on the Symphony No. 3 with organ by Camille Saint-Saëns, see Symphony No. 3 (Saint-Saëns).

An organ symphony is a piece for solo pipe organ in various movements. It is a symphonic genre, not so much in musical form (in which it is more similar to the organ sonata or suite), but in imitating orchestral tone color, texture, and symphonic process.

Though the very first organ symphony was written by German composer Wilhelm Valentin Volckmar in 1867, the genre is mainly associated with French romanticism. César Franck wrote what is considered to be the first French organ symphony in his Grand pièce symphonique, and the composers Charles-Marie Widor, who wrote ten organ symphonies, and his pupil Louis Vierne, who wrote six, continued to cultivate the genre. Modern composers such as Jean Guillou have written organ symphonies as well. The genre is considered to have been brought to fruition in the second organ symphony of André Fleury.

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