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The AA-Kerk organ to speak again


davidh
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The organ has been restored by Reil and will be inaugurated on Friday 14th October. For more information about the inauguration festival: take a look at http://schnitgersdroom.nl

 

There will also be a new recording of the instrument, see http://www.orgelnieuws.nl/wcms/modules/new...hp?storyid=4528

 

See also http://schnitgersdroom.nl/

 

 

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This is truly a momentous moment in European organ-history and culture, for this was always one of the most beautiful and majestic of all instruments in the Netherlands, even in its somewhat altered form following subesquent re-builds, changes and additions to the original Schnitger organ.

 

The arguments raged for years about what to do and how to restore the organ, and that is not surprising, considering that ALL the work done the organ since it was first installed, was of a very high tonal quality indeed.

 

I have a very fine CD of the organ as it was, and I've just listened to the G major Bruhns, which just pins the ears to the wall and makes one drop everything to listen......it is/was that good. In all important respects, this organ was always the tonal equal to Alkmaar, and to have heard it in the flesh perhaps 18 years ago, remains one of the organ highlights of my life.

 

I am genuinely thrilled for our friends in the Netherlands, and especially those in lovely Groningen, where the Martinikerk organ-restoration was a huge success. I can just imagine the satisfied smiles and nods of approval on the faces of the "Orgeland" team; assuming that the organ-builder has delivered the goods.

 

However, I had to smile when I read the following on the web-site:-

 

 

The Der Aa-kerk Foundation is looking for forty organists resident in Groningen for the book “The Der Aa-kerk pulls out all the stops”.

 

 

That's FORTY ORGANISTS folks!

 

I'd be hard pushed to find a couple of dozen decent organists in a twenty mile radius!

 

MM

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The Der Aa-kerk Foundation is looking for forty organists resident in Groningen for the book “The Der Aa-kerk pulls out all the stops”.

 

 

That's FORTY ORGANISTS folks!

 

I'd be hard pushed to find a couple of dozen decent organists in a twenty mile radius!

 

MM

 

 

You should be so lucky! One could probably count up the number of competent organists in this province on the fingers of one's hands and have a few left over!

 

I have never had the privilege of hearing the Netherlands organs in the flesh - the nearest I've got was playing in a recital at a moment's notice in Bruges Cathedral, where the organ looks stupendous but tonally is not anything special - but a few years ago I was given a boxed set of CDs and gained much inspiration, not only from the sounds (those grand choruses! those wonderful colour reeds!) but from the repertoire. I now play all of Bruhns and Bohm - of the latter I had only previously played the C major Praeludium in the Peters edition, but after hearing one of the chorale partitas on CD, I bought the complete works and now I can revel in the whole lot.

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The Der Aa-kerk Foundation is looking for forty organists resident in Groningen for the book “The Der Aa-kerk pulls out all the stops”.

 

 

That's FORTY ORGANISTS folks!

 

I'd be hard pushed to find a couple of dozen decent organists in a twenty mile radius!

 

MM

 

 

 

You should be so lucky! One could probably count up the number of competent organists in this province on the fingers of one's hands and have a few left over!

 

I have never had the privilege of hearing the Netherlands organs in the flesh - the nearest I've got was playing in a recital at a moment's notice in Bruges Cathedral, where the organ looks stupendous but tonally is not anything special - but a few years ago I was given a boxed set of CDs and gained much inspiration, not only from the sounds (those grand choruses! those wonderful colour reeds!) but from the repertoire. I now play all of Bruhns and Bohm - of the latter I had only previously played the C major Praeludium in the Peters edition, but after hearing one of the chorale partitas on CD, I bought the complete works and now I can revel in the whole lot.

 

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Absolutely, and when you hear this music played on the right type of instrument in the right type of acoustic, you begin to appreciate just how great they were as composers. I wish I had more time to practise and learn new repertoire, but at this time of year, I get to a point of despair in wondering if I have forgotten how to play almost anything; so sloppy do the fingers become.

 

A bit of hard practise towards Christmas, (my Christmas starts early about a week prior), and the spirits revive again.

 

Do try to get to the Netherlands during the warmer months, for almost any of the organ recitals are well played, and the organs are often out of this world for tonal quality.

 

I can't wait to get back to Groningen again!

 

MM

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  • 3 weeks later...
Sure we do :rolleyes:

Here are some video and audio examples of the restored organ:

http://www.refdag.nl/muziek/muzieknieuws/g...n_klok_1_594241

 

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Even though this is not the best quality of recording, I think it is possible to hear the supreme quality of this fabulous instrument.

 

I shall have to get down to studying what has been done at the restoration, because it was far from straightforward in view of the variety of pipework contained within the instrument beforehand.

 

I suspect that this is one of the most anticipated and most hotly contested of all restorations, with so many different views about what should be done.

 

It will be interesting to see what the good organists of the Netherlands make of the finished result, and whether the controversy will still continue long after the event.

 

Another stupendous organ to go and hear in the Netherlands, undoubtedly.

 

You can hear the organ as it was prior to restoration, played by Wim van Beek on the following link:-

 

http://orgelconcerten.ncrv.nl/concert/wim-...eek-der-aa-kerk

 

Click on the words 'Beluister dit concert"

 

I would recommend listening to the Bach 'Sei gegrüsset, Jesu gütig' variations first, as this explorers some of the quieter sounds and exquisite flutes of the instrument.

 

MM

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