Wietse Meinardi: Organ building after 2000

by Wietse Meinardi |Het ORGEL |Year 95 |(1999) |Issue 22

 

Wietse Meinardi Organ building after 2000
het ORGEL 95 (1999), nr. 5, 25-29 [summary]

The history of organ building in the 17th and18th centuries shows that famous organ builders then did not strive forhistorically justified restorations or extensions of old organs; they simply madecontemporary instruments. This way of building organs remained popular until theneobaroque; after that (since 1970), most organ builders began to build organs inhistorical styles. As a result, our time lacks its own style and sound; organ builders tryto realise a sound ideal that is congruent with one from a previous era. In fact, this isa rather new phenomenon. It implies that aspects like temperament, compass, consolemeasurements of new organs limit the organist who wishes to play a broad repertoire.

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Van Vulpen organ in “De Rank” Zuidhorn. Wietse Meinardi: “Is this organ the right choice?”. Photo Albert Valstar

This orientation towards the past should not be the endof organ culture; it must be regarded as a learning phase. I think that the time has cometo leave the school and get to work independently with what we have learned. Historicalorgans might be compared with historical houses: restoring is important, but just ashouses have to be fit for inhabintance by modern human beings, our organs should enablethe modern organist to play quite a bit more than just a few styles of music.

[Editor’s note: the ideas and the interpretation ofhistory that Mr. Meinardi are not those of the editorial board prefers. Mr.Meinardi’s article is published in het ORGEL to stimulate a discussion aboutcontemporary organ building.]