Jan Jongepier

The organ in the Grote Kerk, Enschede
Het ORGEL 94 (1998), nr. 2, 15-26 [summary]

On 9 April 1997, the largest organ of the Van Dam firm, built in 1892 for the Grote Kerk at Enschede, was reïnaugurated. The organ was restored by Flentrop Orgelbouw. Jan Jongepier was advisor. The organ had previously been restored, also by Flentrop, in 1953.

The front of the three-manual organ is based on the front structure that Van Dam used for two-manual organs. The position of the Hoofdwerk and Positief windchests is as indicated by the façade. The Bovenwerk is placed in the upper part of the outer right tower, the Pedal in the outer left tower. The disposition is composed according to two-manual Van Dam organ schemes. Rare are Mixtuur and Fagot 16 on the Hoofdwerk. The stops Roerfluit 8 - Fluittravers 4 - Quintfluit 3, which Van Dam usually placed on the Bovenwerk, stand in Enschede on the Positief, so the Bovenwerk disposition differs from other Van Dam examples.

The restoration in 1953 was a testimony of its time: modern techniques were considered to be better than classical methods and the disposition was reorganised (strings disappeared). Nowadays a more extended set of values is applied. This does not mean that the values of the 1950s should be condemned, but that organ restoration is approached from a broader point of view. The restoration of 1997 shows how this attitude influenced decisions. Regarding technical aspects: many elements have been reconstructed, but the plates with which the chests were covered in 1953 remained. Regarding the sound: the goal was to design scalings which matched those of Van Dam. The strings were reconstructed, but the wish to add a Mixtuur to the Positief was honoured too.