Michel Lemmens & Prosper Sevestre

European Organ Symposium, Brussel 1997
Het ORGEL 94 (1998), nr. 1, 31-34 [summary]

The 'European Organ Symposium' which GoArt (Göteborg Organ Art center) held on October 28th and 29th 1997, was opened on October 27th in the presence of invited Euro-politicians, to show them how the organ mirrors the development of aesthetic, philosophical, technical, socio-historical, economical and religious ideas in Europe.

The lectures treated several themes, such as organ restoration in Europe (Harald Vogel was optimistic, since the historical-documentary and musical aspects of the instrument appear not to be in conflict with each other); the casting and construction of pipes (Munetaka Yokota showed that manual casting in the 17th century resulted in thinner and harder material than modern machine-made material); new techniques in organ building (Bernard Foccroulle presented a plea for midi and other electronic devices in organs); recording Bach (Jacques van Oortmerssen pled for using historic instruments and a self confident attitude of the organist towards score, producer etc.); playing techniques (Joel Speerstra showed that one should regard the organist's legs as two fingers of one hand); harmonium (Joris Verdin).

Harald Vogel reacted to Foccroulle's plea for electronic devices by saying that we should instead try to create a new form of the antique organ as an open air instrument. The audience reacted sceptically. It approved Hans Davidsson's proposal to cooperate in a European program of documentation, research and restoration.