Hans Fidom
Sicco Steendam
Wim Winters
Organ building after 2000 (II)
het ORGEL 95 (1999), nr. 6, 33-39 [summary]

In het ORGEL 1999/5, Wietse Meinardi published an article in which he criticised historicism in organ building; in his opinion, organs should be fit for a broad repertoire. Meinardi suggests that this can be achieved by taking over the way old organ builders like Arp Schnitger worked: they were convinced of the quality of their own style. Hans Fidom, Sicco Steendam, Wim Winters react to Meinardi’s article. Hans Fidom, editor-in-chief of het ORGEL, states that Meinardi’s argument is incomplete: Meinardi neglects to investigate the differences between the time of, say, Schnitger and ours; such an investigation would have led to the conclusion that Meinardi’s idea is not feasible. Fidom considers it undesirable as well: historicism is very much a part of our postmodern time. To Fidom, this does not mean that any experiment should be rejected. Experiments should fulfill two conditions: their quality should be comparable to that of historic organ building, and they should correspond to developments in other fields of culture. Organ builder Sicco Steendam answers Meinardi’s implicit question whether organ building has a future, by arguing for making the church a more professional institution, especially with regard to financial management. Organists should be compelled to follow lessons with professional organists. Consequently, conservatories should offer more lessons: organists should learn about communication and managament. Steendam thinks that there is still a lot to learn from organ builders of the past. Developing a contemporary concert organ might be an interesting experiment. Organist Wim Winters defends historicism as well. He, too, states that learning from organ builders from the past has not yet come to an end. New developments are possible only when they are related to the quality of organ building in former ages. Winters questions whether new developments are desirable at all. In his opinion, musicians should be handling their instrument creatively, the instrument should not be adjusted to the musician’s needs.