As I mentioned in my introduction to the first movement of the Passion Symphony, the work was created with the Wanamaker Store organ in mind. Of all the movements, the Nativity, because of its orchestral nature, would be the most successful on that instrument.
In total contrast to the agitated style of “The World awaiting the Savior,” this movement expresses the serene calm of the night of Jesus’ birth. The Hautbois stop reflects perhaps a shepherd boy playing his flute, the 16’ Quintaton and 8’ Gambe in the Récit depict the plodding of the camels of the Three Wise Men, and the Récit strings and two open flutes in the pedal beautifully introduce “Adeste Fideles” in praise of the Savior’s birth. In Dupré’s recording of this movement at St. Ouen, in Rouen, he adds the Récit Octaves Aiguës (Swell 4’ coupler) for the last phrase and when that occurs you almost get the impression that chimes have been added. Although Cavaillé-Coll organs do not have chimes, the Wanamaker store organ does and it would be interesting to ponder whether or not that string sound, so familiar to Dupré, was responsible for a request for chimes at that point in the score.