Stephen Taylor

The organ at the Nicolaïkerk at Utrecht
Het ORGEL 95 (1999), nr. 4, x-x [summary]

In 1943, a restoration of the towers and the façade of the Nicoläikerk was started. Consequently, the organ (Witte, 1888) was moved to the choir. The restoration revealed a window in the façade. Returning the Witte organ to it's previous location would make this window invisible from within the church; but the church wardens preferred not to replace the instrument by a new one. In 1942, Lambert Erné, the organist of the church, became acquainted with Sybrand Zachariassen, the leader of the Danish organ building firm Marcussen. The result was an enthusiastic exchange of ideas about a new organ. As the architects appeared to be in favour of the plans as well, Erné tried really hard to realise the new organ.

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Meanwhile, the church tried to make return of the Witte organ acceptable by proposing to furnish it with a new front. But the Organ Commission of the Dutch Reformed Church rejected this plan. As a result, the church sought contact with Zachariassen. In 1952 he made an offer; in 1955, Marcussen was contracted to build the new organ. The organ was inaugurated in 1957. It was reviewed very positively in the Netherlands and abroad. After the restoration of the Nicolaïkerk in the 1970s, Marcussen revised the intonation. The instrument still sounds very convincing. To preclude the necessity of a restoration, the condition of the organ is monitored intensively. If necessary, a limited work on the organ is undertaken; in such cases, other parts of the organs are used as a reference.