The Flentrop organ of 1952 in the Catharinakerk in Doetinchem

by Theo Jellema | Photo's: Jan Smelik | Het ORGEL | Year 119 | (2023) | Issue 6

Doetinchem, Catharinakerk, Flentrop-orgel. Foto: Jan Smelik

Few post-war organs had as great a reputation as the organ that Marcussen made for the Nicolaïkerk in Utrecht in 1957.  The result is that when you hunt for 3-manual tracker-action organs from the 50s, you’re led repeatedly to that organ.  But already five years earlier Flentrop had built an impressive 3-manual organ for the Catharinakerk in Doetinchem, a great accomplishment.  Although Flentrop had made large 3-manual tracker-action organs even earlier, in the Grote Kerk in Wageningen (1943, destroyed in 1945) and in the Vredekerk in Bussum (1948), and a smaller one (1948) in the Immanuelkerk te Driebergen, neither the dispositions nor the cases of these represent the norms of the new post-war style.

This article discusses the gestation and birth of this instrument, and also how the organ was received.  The author also discusses the technical challenges that had to be faced.  The organ was built on the basis of ideals and aesthetical principles that were then current only in Scandinavia.  In a complex field of forces Dirk Andries Flentrop kept his goal in sight without compromises.