Hans Fidom, Sicco Steendam, Wim Winters: Organ building after 2000 (II)

by Hans Fidom, Sicco Steendam, Wim Winters | Het ORGEL | Year 95 | (1999) | Issue 11


Hans Fidom
Sicco Steendam
Wim Winters Organ building after 2000 (II)
het ORGEL 95 (1999), nr. 6, 33-39 [summary]

In het ORGEL 1999/5, Wietse Meinardi published an articlein which he criticised historicism in organ building; in his opinion, organs should be fitfor a broad repertoire. Meinardi suggests that this can be achieved by taking over the wayold organ builders like Arp Schnitger worked: they were convinced of the quality of theirown style. Hans Fidom, Sicco Steendam, Wim Winters react to Meinardi’s article. HansFidom, editor-in-chief of het ORGEL, states that Meinardi’s argument is incomplete:Meinardi neglects to investigate the differences between the time of, say, Schnitger andours; such an investigation would have led to the conclusion that Meinardi’s idea isnot feasible. Fidom considers it undesirable as well: historicism is very much a part ofour postmodern time. To Fidom, this does not mean that any experiment should be rejected.Experiments should fulfill two conditions: their quality should be comparable to that ofhistoric organ building, and they should correspond to developments in other fields ofculture. Organ builder Sicco Steendam answers Meinardi’s implicit question whetherorgan building has a future, by arguing for making the church a more professionalinstitution, especially with regard to financial management. Organists should be compelledto follow lessons with professional organists. Consequently, conservatories should offermore lessons: organists should learn about communication and managament. Steendam thinksthat there is still a lot to learn from organ builders of the past. Developing acontemporary concert organ might be an interesting experiment. Organist Wim Wintersdefends historicism as well. He, too, states that learning from organ builders from thepast has not yet come to an end. New developments are possible only when they are relatedto the quality of organ building in former ages. Winters questions whether newdevelopments are desirable at all. In his opinion, musicians should be handling theirinstrument creatively, the instrument should not be adjusted to the musician’s needs.