An essay on the quality of organ culture in The Netherlands by Hans Fidom

by Hans Fidom | Het ORGEL | Year 101 | (2005) | Issue 3

Hans Fidom An essay on the quality of organ culture in The Netherlands
Het ORGEL 100 (2005), nr. 3, xx-xx [summary]

On 13 November 2004, a symposium on the future of the organ was held at Groningen University. Emphasizing that he was reading an essay, Hans Fidom articulated some thoughts on the quality of this culture, based on the idea that it will survive only if superior music continues to be made on superior organs. According to Fidom, one has to distinguish between artistic and intellectual quality.
With regard to artistic quality, some positive developments can be observed in The Netherlands: organists are asked ever more to determine for themselves how they shall play; this offers them the opportunity to recover their artistic autonomy.
It is easy to comment on the intellectual quality of Dutch organ culture: once knowledge is presented in a solid way, based on proper arguments, it is often discussed only in private instead of in public (for example the temperament of historic organs, or Albert Schweitzer’s significance for the organ in the 20th century); furthermore, some organ builders and organ consultants deny that it is useful to share knowledge with more than one or two others.
This explains why the quality of our organ culture develops rather slowly. It leaves us with an organ garden that consists almost completely of a thick layer of humus (1500 concerts each summer, in which the same organists play the same repertoire on the same organs in the same way, year after year). That humus layer is fertile enough now; it’s time to grow some really interesting flowers above ground.