Willem Vogel: more than a hymn composer by Martin Moree

by Martin Moree | Het ORGEL | Year 101 | (2005) | Issue 6

Martin Moree Willem Vogel: more than a hymn composer
Het ORGEL 100 (2005), nr. 6, xx-xx [summary]

Willem Vogel is especially known for the large number of hymns he composed. But he wrote organ music as well, inspired, at first inspired by the Bätz organ in the Grote Kerk at Weesp, were he grew up. In 1977, Willem Vogel was appointed organist/cantor of the Oude Kerk at Amsterdam; he retired in 2002.
In his early works, such as the Valeriussuite, Willem Vogel wrote many notes. Later on, influenced by the music of composers like Ernst Pepping, Vogel’s style developed. At first, he was even quite precise in his application of Pepping’s ideas (atonality, no bar lines), but later on he developed his own personal style, which is characterised by great simplicity and clarity.
Being a practical man, Willem Vogel composed psalm preludes for use in church services. The Toccata on psalm 150 is interesting: in it he quotes the Vater unser melody, which he had discovered to be the inversion of the melody of psalm 150. Occasionally Vogel also composed free works, most recently the Concertino for organ and string orchestra from 1975.
Willem Vogel celebrated his 85th birthday this year, having been active as a composer for 73 years.