Jan-Piet Knijff

A Round table discussion with four retired conservatory teachers
het ORGEL 94 (1998), nr. 1, 6-10 [summary]

Comparing past and present organ culture was the main theme of the round table discussion in which Jan-Piet Knijff spoke with the retired conservatory teachers Bernard Bartelink (1929), Bert Matter (1937), Maurice Pirenne (1928) and Jan Welmers (1937).

The four agree that the influence of musicology on performers has greatly increased. Studying and playing old music, which was stimulated above all by Gustav Leonhardt's pioneering work, showed that playing technique should match the composition being played.

The increasing emphasis on old music changed the focus of musicians. In former days improvisation was more important, with Cor Kee as leading teacher. A second reason for the decline of interest in improvisation - as in contemporary music - is that conservatory studies last only four years. Organ culture is characterised nowadays by pluriformity of styles. This has consequences for organ building, too. Bartelink eagerly awaits the development of a contemporary organ, Welmers pleads for more experimentation in organ building. Matter thinks the development of the organ has come to an end.

As far as the future of organ culture is concerned, Bartelink refuses to preclude a revival of church music. In Welmers's opinion the organ of the future will be first of all a concert instrument.