The restored organ of the Der Aa-Kerk: stimulus to new creative paths by Reitze Smits

by Reitze Smits | Het ORGEL | Year 108 | (2012) | Issue 1


Reitze Smits The restored organ of the Der Aa-Kerk: stimulus to new creative paths
Het ORGEL 108 (2012), nr. 1, 34-38 [summary]

A lot has happened in the Dutch organ world in the past fifty years, and the richness of Groningen’s organ heritage has inspired people even beyond our borders. Now, after fifty years, it sometimes seems as if we think that we know precisely which registrations, tempi, and fingerings we should use. In general, the organ world is a model of rest and balance.
But it is a question whether our attention for the past and its interpretation, with the pretention of being able to approach it more closely, offers sufficient nourishment for the coming fifty years. There are two options:
1. We just leave things as they are, and because of secularization, decreasing interest in classical music, and decreasing numbers of organ students and organ recital attendants, the culture of the organ will gradually sink into oblivion.
2. If we don’t close our eyes to developments, a feeling of urgency emerges. We shall have to take initiatives, or it may be too late to stem the tide.
We don’t yet know where we’re headed or what the goal looks like, but dikes and windmills must be built, and the rivers must be able to flow freely, because we can’t wait until there’s no road ahead. It will look different from the past fifty years, but we nurture the great value of our organ treasures, and this drives us to find new paths.
The organ will have to be used more often in connection with other art forms and art disciplines.
To reach a new public, it is more important to invest in education. This necessity is felt everywhere: in many places in Europe projects are set up to get children and their parents (who are often more difficult to reach) interested in the organ, by schools, local organizations, or festivals.
We must put our creativity to work to insure that the organs keep sounding, and to do this we must coöperate. Because even if the public’s interest is decreasing, it’s not the organ’s fault: it is a fantastic instrument, that can still inspire many generations.

Reitze Smits during his reading Photo: Jan Smelik