Hans Fidom The new organ in the Bovenkerk in Kampen
Het ORGEL 97 (2001), nr. 1, 5-12 [summary]

kampenkoor.jpg (28384 bytes)In 1999 a new organ was placed in the choir of the Bovenkerk in Kampen. The organ is a gift from Henk Stoel. The Foundation Choir Organ Bovenkerk Kampen is responsible for the instrument, which was built by Orgelmakerij Gebr. Reil (Heerde). Jan Jongepier was consultant.

The organ has 29 stops on Hoofdwerk (Great, 12 stops), Bovenwerk (10 stops), and Pedal (6 stops). The 29th stop is a Klaroen, placed on top of the case; it is played from a third manual with keys from c1 upward, the ‘Récit’.

The organ documents the development of Reil so far. Whereas in previous organs the main wind chest corresponded to the shape of the case, the chest here is an integrated part of the organ case: it is situated on top of the lower case, and bears the upper case. This makes the structure of the organ firmer, which, according to Reil, has a positive effect on the resonance of the sound. The façade shows Reil’s development as well: it is based on the same type as the Reil organs at Vienna (Augustinerkirche) or Ancaster, Canada (Redeemer College). Like most historicising fronts, this one shows how difficult it is to come close to the beauty of historical organ fronts. It raises the question why a contemporary design was not preferred.

Characteristic of the sound is its clarity; the fundamental of most stops is not very prominent. The Octaaf 4 of the Hoofdwerk is a good example in this respect. On being asked, voicer Han Reil stated that the design of the stops was inspired by old organs, especially the Bader/Timpe-organ in the St.-Walburgiskerk at Zutphen, which was recently restored by Reil. Reil aims at voicing flues without nicking and reeds without using leather, in order to discover how organ builders voiced in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The unity between façade and sound, both inspired by ancient organs, shows the strength of Reil’s concept.