Organ in the Der Aa-Kerk at Groningen discussed once again by Hans Fidomby Hans Fidom |Het ORGEL |Year 99 |(2003) |Issue 1
Het ORGEL 99 (2003), nr. 1, 13-16 [summary]
The preliminaries of the restoration of the famous organ in the Der Aa-Kerk at Groningen, originally built by Arp Schnitger in 1702, have made progress.
In 1993, Rudi van Straten, the consultant of the Foundation Der Aa-Kerk, which owns the church and the organ, developed the first restoration plan. It was withdrawn after protests submitted to the city council of Groningen, which is legally responsible for monuments in the city. A revised plan was presented in 1995. The city granted the required permit. This plan was replaced by a revision one in 1997 once again, because it was concluded, on second thought, that the construction of the organ should be re-enforced. The plan implied that the organ would lose quite a few of its stops and chests built after 1831 and would be given a considerably changed specification.
Despite protests, the town council granted a permit. The Foundation for the Protection of the Main Organ of the Der Aa-Kerk appealed. The judge decided to commission an investigation of the construction of the organ by TNO, a well-known Dutch research institute. TNO concluded that the organ could be re-installed without drastic changes being necessary.
The sitting of the court took place on 15 November 2002. Considering the TNO-report, the city council withdrew the permit. The judge did not pass judgement; his aim was that the Foundation for the Protection of the Main Organ, the owner of the organ and the city would voluntarily form a project-group, in order to plan the re-instalment of the organ together. Eventually, they declared their intention to form such a group.
Since the TNO-report does not say anything about the playability of the organ, it may be expected that it will be another few years before the organ can be heard again.