The organ works of Albert de Klerk

by Han Leentvaar | Het ORGEL | Year 94 | (1998) | Issue 1


Wolfgang Baumgratz

Albert de Klerk: Organ Works

Het ORGEL 94 (1998), nr. 3, 6-14 [summary]

The organ works of Albert de Klerk (born in 1917, renowned as organist of the famous Müller-organ at St.-Bavo, Haarlem) are characterised by chamber-music intimacy, counterpoint, classical forms and romantic colours. In his first composition, Prelude & Fuga (1940), these elements already define De Klerk’s musical style. For the understanding of this style, knowledge of the organ at St.-Jozef, Haarlem, built by Adema in 1917 and played by De Klerk since 1933, is indispensable.

When composing organ works based on songs (Gregorian hymns, Flemish Christmas carols, psalms and other songs as published in the Liedboek voor de Kerken) De Klerk prefers the variation form. Many works are composed in series, like the Inventies (1945, 10 pieces suitable for organ lessons); the ‘Tien orgelwerken’ (1946, somewhat more difficult); de Octo Fantasiae super themata Gregoriana (1953, using the eight modes – like a ‘Gregorian microcosm’); the Twelve Images (1969, written for his twelve organ students at the Amsterdam Conservatory, in fact little musical portraits).

The Tres Meditationes Sacrae (1993) are De Klerk’s most extensive organ work. They deal with Christ’s appearances to his disciples after his resurrection. In their dynamic changes, the musical portrayal of the texts, de meditative moments and in harmonies and counterpoint, they give a summary of Albert de Klerk’s organ style.