Continuing discussion concerning the organ in the Aa-Kerk in Groningen

by Han Leentvaar | Het ORGEL | Year 96 | (2000) | Issue 3

Continuing discussion concerning the organ in the Aa-kerk in Groningen
Het ORGEL 96 (2000), nr. 3, 26-31 [summary]

On 17 December 1999 the city of Groningen decided to uphold permission to alter themain organ in the Aa-kerk in Groningen (Schnitger 1702, Timpe 1815 and 1831, Van Oeckelen1858). In het ORGEL 2000/2 Peter van Dijk described the history of the organ andpreparations for restoration. He believed that the organ would function well after therestoration, but regretted the planned removal of so many Van Oeckelen features.

Hans Brink and the Foundation for the Protection of the Main Organ of the Aa-kerk reactto Van Dijk’s article. Hans Brink suggests that the organ could regain its Brustwerkand that the wind pressure should be about 90-95 mm water gauge. The foundation claimsthat the work of the committee in preparing the decision made by the city of Groningen on17 December 1999 was inadequate, since it dealt only with formal questions. Therestoration plans misjudge, according to the foundation, the musical and cultural value ofthe organ. The foundation suggests that the stability of the organ case should beinvestigated; if there is sufficient stability then radical measures are unnecessary. Thefoundation adds that the description of the organ in the Dutch Monument Register, acentral theme in the present stage of the decision process, is incomplete and based on atemporary inventory. The foundation believes that present aims are based on fantasy ratherthan facts.

Peter van Dijk stresses in his reaction that the civic committee could not discuss thecontent of the matter because it was not authorised to modify the description of the organin the Monument Register; that this description was laid down officially in 1989; thatrestoration policy is now determined by objective criteria rather than musical taste; thatthe organ will not become a fantasy instrument because the plans do not deviateconsiderably from the state of the organ in 1831. Van Dijk points out that research hasproved that the stability of the main case is indeed insufficient and that measures arerequired.