Welcome to the Internet pages of Europe’s oldest magazine on Organ Art: Het ORGEL [i.e. the ORGAN]. Het ORGEL is a magazine of Dutch origin. This Internet site contains English summaries of articles published in Het ORGEL. Every second month we will add the newest summaries. The site also contains a survey of which festival is happening where in Europe, and an extensive collection of links to other interesting organ sites throughout the world.
The September, 2021, issue of Het ORGEL is dedicated for a large part to Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, who died 400 years ago. Sweelinck specialist Pieter Dirksen wrote a fascinating analytical article on the Ricercar a1 (SwWV 280). He shows among other things how this composition exhibits all the characteristics of the ‘classical’ Sweelinck fantasia.
The celebration of Sweelinck’s birth and death years is in our time a matter of course. But for centuries that was not the case. Jan Smelik’s article concerns the Sweelinck revival that began in the 19th century. Smelik describes the period up to 1934, the year in which Bernhard van den Sigtenhorst Meyer’s book ‘Jan P. Sweelinck en zijn instrumentale muziek’ appeared. The article describes the role of Het ORGEL and of the Nederlandsche Organisten-Vereeniging (NOV) in the process of re-evaluating Sweelinck. The famous controversy between the NOV and Jan Zwart in the early 1930s is addressed, because Sweelinck’s memory was an important theme. Commemorating a national hero of the 17th century could unite the Dutch then, but could also give rise to enmity and misunderstanding.
The rubric ‘Een eeuw geleden’ [A century ago] contains a short article by Herman Rutters from the October issue of 1921. The editor of Het ORGEL at that time was greatly concerned about the commemoration of the 300th anniversary of Sweelinck’s death on 16 October.
Jos van der Kooy, in his column ‘Levenslang Sweelinck’ [Sweelinck for life] describes how he first made the acquaintance of the ‘Orpheus of Amsterdam’, and how Sweelinck has accompanied him during his career. An ego document that indirectly provides a brief description of Sweelinck reception since WW2.
Sweelinck was in the 17th century primarily influential in North Germany, via his pupils. His art was further developed by pupils who transmitted it to their own pupils. That was the case for example with Johann Adam Reincken, a pupil of Sweelinck’s pupil Heinrich Scheidemann. Christiaan Clement writes about Reincken’s famous chorale-fantasie ‘An Wasserflüssen Babylon’. Using an analysis of musical figures, Clement investigates which of the 6 verses of the poem (an arrangement of Psalm 137) Reincken may have had in mind. A fascinating study.
Geerten Liefting attended the 3 rounds of the International Organ Competition in Haarlem. What were the improvisation assignments like? Did they offer the candidates sufficient possibilities to display their talent? And what did the players achieve with the assignments?
Auke H. Vlagsma wrote an In memoriam for Teus den Toom, who died on 19 July at the age of 77. Jan R. Luth commemorates Jan van Biezen, who died on 24 July, 94 years old.
Several recently published book are reviewed. Christo Lelie writes about Bernhard Ruchti’s book on the ‘Fantasie und Fuge über den Choral “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam”’ by Franz Liszt. The title of his review, ‘Een vergeten uitvoeringspraktijk van romantische muziek’ [A forgotten performance practice of romantic music], indicates that the importance of Ruchti’s book goes further than the organ works of Liszt.
Sietze de Vries reviews the book ‘De aristocraat onder onze historische orgels. De orgels van de Oude Kerk Amsterdam’ [‘The aristocrat of our historical organs. The organs of the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam’]. He concludes: “a fantastic reference work, that can be read like an exciting novel.”
Albert Clement calls attention to the ‘Mendelssohn Handbuch’ that appeared last year, edited by Christiane Wiesenfeldt. Is this handbook up to date? Does it meet our expectations?
Frits Zwart closes the issue with part 2 of a trilogy on the organist Marinus van ’t Kruijs (1861-1919). This part covers the period when Van ’t Kruijs lived and worked in Groningen. He met with quite a bit of trouble there.…
Royal Dutch Association of Organists and churchmusicians
The publisher of Het ORGEL
The paper edition as well as the Internet edition of Het ORGEL are published by the Koninklijke Vereniging van Organisten en Kerkmusici (Dutch abbreviation: ‘KVOK’). This Association was founded on 16 January 1890, and in 1937 became the publisher of Het ORGEL; the first issue of Het ORGEL was published in 1886.
Adress of the editorial staff
Dr. Jan Smelik, editor in chief
H. van Steenwijckstraat 10
8331 KK STEENWIJK
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You can support Het ORGEL and the Royal Dutch Association of Organists and churchmusicians by becoming a member of the Association. Membership fee: EUR 70,- (Europe) and EUR 75,- (Outside Europe) a year in the Netherlands. Membership is for one year and will be automatically renewed if not terminated at least one month before the end of the calendar year.
Once you’re a member, you will receive the paper edition of Het ORGEL 6 times a year and the digital newspaper NOTABENE 12 times a year. It is also possible to receive the publications without being a member of the society.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send an e-mail to the board of the Association