|Continuing discussion concerning the
organ in the Aa-kerk in Groningen
Het ORGEL 96 (2000), nr. 3, 26-31 [summary]
On 17 December 1999 the city of Groningen decided to uphold permission to alter the main organ in the Aa-kerk in Groningen (Schnitger 1702, Timpe 1815 and 1831, Van Oeckelen 1858). In het ORGEL 2000/2 Peter van Dijk described the history of the organ and preparations for restoration. He believed that the organ would function well after the restoration, but regretted the planned removal of so many Van Oeckelen features.
Hans Brink and the Foundation for the Protection of the Main Organ of the Aa-kerk react to Van Dijk's article. Hans Brink suggests that the organ could regain its Brustwerk and that the wind pressure should be about 90-95 mm water gauge. The foundation claims that the work of the committee in preparing the decision made by the city of Groningen on 17 December 1999 was inadequate, since it dealt only with formal questions. The restoration plans misjudge, according to the foundation, the musical and cultural value of the organ. The foundation suggests that the stability of the organ case should be investigated; if there is sufficient stability then radical measures are unnecessary. The foundation adds that the description of the organ in the Dutch Monument Register, a central theme in the present stage of the decision process, is incomplete and based on a temporary inventory. The foundation believes that present aims are based on fantasy rather than facts.
Peter van Dijk stresses in his reaction that the civic committee could not discuss the content of the matter because it was not authorised to modify the description of the organ in the Monument Register; that this description was laid down officially in 1989; that restoration policy is now determined by objective criteria rather than musical taste; that the organ will not become a fantasy instrument because the plans do not deviate considerably from the state of the organ in 1831. Van Dijk points out that research has proved that the stability of the main case is indeed insufficient and that measures are required.