The Organ

Pieter Backer Orgel played by Jos van der Kooy

SPB01 - 01
62' 1"

The organ in the Bonifacius church in Medemblik, was built by Pieter Backer in 1671, the peak of the golden age of Dutch culture. The organ at that time consisted of Hoofdwerk, Borstwerk and Rugwerk but the Rugwerk was replaced by Christoffel Batz in 1785. Apart from this the instrument has remained in its original condition and one hears the sounds which would have been heard by the maker and early performers. Though the town has suffered over the centuries, recent interest in watersports has returned it to prosperity and increased the number of visitors to the church.

The recording includes many works by composers associated with the town. Sweelinck was married here in 1590 and Jos van der Kooy opens with Allein Gott in der Hoh sei Her followed by a Fantasia and Toccata. The clarity of sound and gentle nature of the voicing is immediately apparent and pleasing. Steenwick's Serband includes nine short works written for house organ or harpsichord. They are used to demonstrate individual ranks and the delicacy of sound which can be achieved.

Bach's Fantasia and Fugue BWV 561 is kept light and fluid, the impression being that this and earlier items have been recorded using only the known 1671 stops. Handel's C major Voluntary (if it is by Handel!) allows us to hear the later baroque stops, in particular an impressive baroque trumpet - so unlike the later romantic varieties. Two works by Brahms are interesting rather than convincing - they really need more weight in the middle range.

The recording concludes with arrangements of three Dutch Folk Songs by Piet Post. An accomplished improviser, they clearly show their improvised origins, sparkling wittily but always within the tenor of the instrument. The details in the booklet are often unclear, giving generalised rather than specific musical details. A specification is included but one has to go to the website for details of registration. Musically a fine recording which hopefully will lead to others with more detailed information on the works included. BH