The organ builders Witte

by Han Leentvaar | Het ORGEL | Year 94 | (1998) | Issue 6


Peter van Dijk & Rogér van Dijk

The organ builders Witte

Het ORGEL 94 (1998), nr. 5, 28-37 [summary]

A recent growth of interest can be observed in the life and work of the organ builders Christian Gottlieb Friederich Witte (1802-1873) and his son Johann Frederik Witte (1840-1902), who continued the company J. Bätz & Co. On 6 June 1997 Teus den Toom received a doctor’s degree for an impressive thesis, in which he investigates their work thoroughly.

The Witte-organ in the Hervormde Kerk at Beusichem (1858)

Photo Peter van Dijk

In recent years, four Witte-organs have been restored: in the Grote Kerk at Leerdam (1854, PII/21; in 1997 restored by Pels & Van Leeuwen; Aart Bergwerff was advisor); the Hervormde Kerk at Beusichem (1858, II/18; in 1996 restored by Van Vulpen; advisors were successively Jan Jongepier and Hans van Nieuwkoop); the St.-Martinuskerk at Rijswijk (1875, II/9; in 1996 restored by Henk van Eeken; advisor was Hans van Nieuwkoop); the Christelijk Gereformeerde Kerk at Doornspijk (1879, II/9; in 1995 restored by Sicco Steendam; advisor was Peter Eilander).

These organs make clear that apart from the continuity that characterizes the work of Witte, also changes and diversity can be heard. At Leerdam and Beusichem (C.G.F. Witte) a tendency towards brightness and fullness is audible; whereas in the organs at Rijswijk and Doornspijk (J.F. Witte) a degree of power is sacrificed for dignity.