During this event the following Groningen organs will be played:
In 1671 the Aa-kerk organ burned down due to a lightning strike. The organ had been completed 4 years before, by Jacobus Galtusz Hagerbeer. Hagebeer had taken over the commission from expert builder Theodorus Faber, who had died during the construction.
Arp Schnitger began building a new organ in 1694, the largest organ he would make in the Netherlands. He completed it in 1697, but 13 years later this organ was also destroyed when the tower collapsed on top of it. The city council probably gave up, because from 1710 to 1815 no real attempts were made to build a new instrument.
In 1815 the organ builder Johannes Wilhelmus Timpe moved the organ Schnitger had built in the Academie-Kerk 1702 to the Der Aa-Kerk. Since the Academie-Kerk was smaller than the Aa-kerk, this organ didn’t have the right size and had to be expanded. The base of the main case was widened, and because of the church’s greater height, the organ cases were also fitted with a new, imposing crown by carver Matthijs Walles.
Restorations were carried out at various times in the 19th and 20th centuries, some by Timpe and Van Oeckelen. The last restoration took place in 2011, by Orgelmakerij Reil (Heerde). The instrument has three manuals and a pedal with a total of 40 stops divided over the great organ (13), positive (10), swell (8) and pedal (9). The organ case is made by Allert Meijer, the carvings are made by Jan de Rijk.
The Edskes organ in the Lutherse Kerk was inaugurated in 2017. Bernhardt Edskes based his design on the baroque organ that stood in this church between 1699 and 1896, and which was built by Arp Schnitger. It was a two-manual instrument with a great organ and a swell division that was extended with a free pedal in 1717. In 1896 this organ was replaced by a new one, built by the firm of Van Oeckelen. This organ is still there and functional, but is stylistically less suitable for the rich music practice that has been employed by the Luthers Bach Ensemble since the beginning of this century.
It was Edskes who took up the challenge of reconstructing the Schnitger organ on the east choir gallery. He did not have much information to work with; only the disposition and some measurements could be found, recorded by Schnitger himself. Edskes eventually used the Schnitger organ (1711) located on the German island of Pellworm to provide a design for the facade of the new organ, as this organ seemed to be the best fit in terms of style and dimensions. However, a few modifications and enhancements were made for usability. An important addition, for example, is the continuo console for the cantor-organist.
The main organ of the Martinikerk is in its origin one of the oldest instruments in the Netherlands. The organ was most likely created before the year 1450. Around 1481 parts of this organ were used to build a new, top-quality instrument. The renowned humanist and town clerk Rudolf Agricola played an important role as advisor. The development of the organ peaked in the 18th century when it was successively expanded by the famous organ builder Arp Schnitger, his son Franz Casper and Albertus Hinsz.
During the most recent restoration of the organ (which was completed in 1984) the situation of 1740 was taken as a starting point. With its 3500 pipes and 53 stops, the Martini organ is one of the largest North-European baroque organs. The stops are distributed over the great organ, a positive and swell and a free pedal.
After being without an organ for more than 150 years (the congregation sang without instrumental accompaniment) the Nieuwe Kerk finally got one in 1831. The well-known organ builder Petrus Van Oeckelen made a design for the organ façade, using the Müller organ of St Bavo’s Church in Haarlem as an example. He also made building specifications and it was the Groningen organ builder Johannes Wilhelmus Timpe who, after a tender, was assigned the job of building the instrument. The purpose of the organ was to provide accompaniment for church singing, and it was given a subtle, not too overpowering sound, so that the congregation could sing along in a ‘civilized’ manner. Only five organs by Timpe have survived. The organ in the Nieuwe Kerk is the largest instrument he built; it is one of the few 3-manual organs in the Netherlands in the Biedermeier style and it possesses 42 stops, divided over the great organ, positive, swell and pedal.
In the Pelstergasthuiskerk we find a beautiful two-manual organ that was originally built in 1627. The maker was probably Anthoni Waelckens; of the pipe work added by him probably only a few remnants have been preserved.
In 1693 and in 1712 the organ was substantially rebuilt by Arp Schnitger (he built a new Positive and a new great organ) and again in 1774 by organ builder Albertus Anthonie Hinsz, who enlarged the organ and moved it to the west wall. The organ is now identified as a Schnitger-Hinsz organ.
In the 19th century the organ was worked on by father and son Freytag and by Petrus van Oeckelen. The current façade pipes were made by the latter. After a proposal by Van Oeckelen’s son in 1916 to completely replace the organ, which fortunately was not honored, some minor changes were made in the 20th century.
In 1989/91 the Bakker & Timmenga company carried out a larger restoration, in which the situation of 1774 served as a starting point.
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