Discussion about organ Der Aa-kerk Groningen continued

by Han Leentvaar | Het ORGEL | Year 96 | (2000) | Issue 2

Peter van Dijk Discussion about organ Der Aa-kerk Groningen continued
Het ORGEL 96 (2000), nr. 2, 14-24 [summary]

Console of the organOn 17 December 1999, thecity of Groningen decided to uphold its permission to change the main organ in the DerAa-kerk at Groningen (Schnitger 1702, Timpe 1815 and 1831, Van Oeckelen 1858). In 1977 theorgan was dismantled by the organ builders Taylor and Boody, because the church was indanger of collapse. In 1990 organ builder Reil re-erected the organ. The owner of theinstrument, the Foundation Der Aa-kerk Groningen, presented a restoration plan to the cityin 1993. The Advisor on Organs of the National Monument Service advised the city to grantpermission under a few conditions. The Foundation Der Aa-kerk submitted a new plan in1995, based on the idea that the organ should not be changed. After Reil dismantled theorgan in 1997, it was concluded that the condition of the structure of the organ requiredan adjustment of the plan. The Foundation submitted a ‘Wijzigingsvoorstel'[proposal of alteration] in 1997 which included reconstruction of Schnitger’s rearcase panels and framework, which had been removed by van Oeckelen. Consequently, quite afew Van Oeckelen-parts (e.g. his Hoofdwerk wind-chests and most of his Hoofdwerk pipes)will have to dissappear. The city of Groningen had upheld the permission. An officialcommission studied the objections to the ‘Wijzigingsvoorstel’ submitted by,among others, the Foundation for the Protection of the Main Organ of the Der Aa-kerk. Thecommission advised the city to uphold the permission. According to the description of theorgan in the Dutch Monument Register, the organ in the Der Aa-kerk is an ‘Organ withBack Positive, built by Arp Schnitger in 1702 for the Minderbroederskerk and moved here in1814; richly decorated organ case on columns and with portal beneath it, dated 1702.’This description is the legal basis of the decision to maintain the permission: as the VanOeckelen-parts are not mentioned explicitly, the city can take this decision. The organwill function well after the restoration. It is very unfortunate that so many VanOeckelen-parts have to disappear. Rudi van Straten, advisor of the Foundation Der Aa-kerk,points out, however, that all parts built in 1831 and before will be saved, and as manyparts from 1858 as possible as well. The Foundation for the Protection of the Main Organof the Der Aa-kerk has appealed to the district court to overrule the city’s mostrecent decision.