Ewald Kooiman

Recent organ tutors by Laukvik, Ritchie and Stauffer
het ORGEL 94 (1998), nr. 3, 15-19 [summary]

Jon Laukvik's Historical Performance Practice in Organ Playing. An Introduction based on selected Organ Works of the 16th-18th Centuries (1996) was published in 1989/1990 in German. The text volume consists of two parts. Part 1 is concerned with technical and musical aspects, part 2 with early and late baroque music, treated by country. The separately published music volume contains compositions, which are treated in the text volume.

This book aims at organists educated in non historical traditions. It is an excellent introduction to the subject. Laukvik does not give rules without argumentation. He accentuates that 'The focal point must always be the tone and its quality.' With the help of music examples he makes valuable remarks on ornamentation, registration etc.

In Organ Technique - Modern and Early Ritchie and Stauffer give a thorough introduction to new technique based on Lemmens's method and on older techniques based on what the authors call the Bach-technique. They assume, without argumentation, that the year 1750 can be seen as a caesura in music history. Other aspects of the book also fail to convince: stating that Lemmens's method is valid 'for most of the organ repertory written between 1750 and the present day' is an unacceptable simplification of history. Ritchie and Stauffer think that one can learn old techniques on a modern (American) organ; this is questionable. On the other hand, the chapter on contemporary techniques is valuable.

Laukvik's book deserves careful attention: any organist can learn something from Laukvik's views. The book of Ritchie and Stauffer is recommended for those who want to know about the latest developments in organ pedagogy.