The organ culture of the Marschen by Konrad Küster

by Konrad Küster | Het ORGEL | Year 111 | (2015) | Issue 4


Konrad Küster The organ culture of the Marschen
Het ORGEL 111 (2015), nr. 4, 26-35 [summary]

From 17 July until 19 August 2015 there is an exhibition in the Martinikerk in Groningen: ‘Organs on the North Sea Coast – the culture of the Marshes’. It is a transportable multi-media presentation with photos, texts, films, and sound recordings.
The organ culture of the Marshes on the North Sea Coast is impressive, but at the same time a forgotten chapter in European cultural history. Organs are found not only in the few cities in this area, but especially in village churches. To understand this organ culture it is important to consider the contextual background, such as the geographical and historical characteristics.
The article also studies the music that sounded on these organs. Few compositions have been preserved; what was played was mostly improvised. The author specifies these three most important elements of the organ music culture: 1) the beginning from 1450 to 1580, 2) the developments in Calvinist practice, in which the services were framed by organ music and congregational singing was accompanied by the organ, and 3) the Lutheran experiments to bring as much heavenly music to earth as possible.