the oude kerk's organs



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The Oude Kerk has two monumental organs as well as a small Italian organ and a cabinet organ, all of which are used for concerts and church services. The Vater-Müller Organ (1726/1742) dominates the west end above the entrance porch. The smaller Transept Organ realized by Ahrend & Brunzema organ builders (1965) is set high on the north side of the church in a case dating from 1658. In the meantime the instrument has been re-tuned to mean-tone temperament, which was prevalent for organs from the early 16th through mid-19th centuries. The cabinet organ by Onderhorst (1767) stood in the chancel for several years, but is currently to be found at the Orgelpark – the ‘Organ Park’ international organ centre housed in a former church in Amsterdam.

The Oude Kerk boasts a long and illustrious organ tradition. There was already an organ that was installed at the west end of the nave – the tower wall – in the 15th century. A new instrument was built in 1539, the organ which was played by the famous composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck between 1577 and 1621. With a few adaptations and renovations this instrument remained in use until 1724, the year in which the Oude Kerk’s churchwardens commissioned Christian Vater of Hanover to build a new organ. Shortly after the completion of Vater’s organ, the church tower started to display serious signs of subsidence. The danger of collapse meant that the whole organ had to be dismantled. Once the tower’s foundations had been repaired, Johann Caspar Müller was tasked with reinstalling the organ and introduced several modifications and new registers in the process. An important and extensive restoration project was undertaken in 1870. The work by C.G.F. Witte of J. Bätz & Co. organ builders was of such high quality that in the 20th century a dispute arose among experts about how the organ’s restoration should be tackled: revert to its early 18th-century state or retain its late 19th-century state. As a result there was a long delay before this restoration got underway, eventually being undertaken in 2015 by Reil organ builders of Heerde, Gelderland, with completion set for 2018. The Vater-Müller Organ is still highly regarded today, and everyone is waiting with bated breath for it to be brought back into service in September 2018. This will be accompanied by the publication of a monograph about the history of the Vater-Müller Organ, which will be available from the Oude Kerk’s shop. Further information about the restoration process can be found at orgelnieuws.nl.

Disposition of the Vater-Müller Organ (1726/1742), Oude Kerk, Amsterdam

(tuning: equal temperament)
Hoofdwerk – Hauptwerk or Great Organ (C–c³)
Prestant 16’
Bourdon 16’
Prestant 8’
Holpijp 8’
Quint 6’
Octaaf 4’
Roerfluit 4’
Roerquint 3’
Octaaf 2’
Fluit 2’
Mixtuur V-VIII
Scherp IV-VI
Sexquialter IV descant
Trompet 16’
Trompet 8’

Rugwerk – Rückpositiv or Chair Organ (C–c³)
Prestant 8’
Holpijp 8’
Quintadena 8’
Octaaf 4’
Gemshoorn 4’
Quint 3’
Octaaf 2’
Woudfluit 2’
Mixtuur V-VIII
Scherp III-V
Cornet V
Sexquialter II-IV
Carillon III-IV
Fagot 16
Trompet 8

Tremulant
Bovenwerk – Oberwerk or Upper Organ (C–c³)
Quintadeen 16’
Prestant 8’
Baarpijp 8’
Quintadena 8’
Viola 8’
Octaaf 4’
Gemshoorn 4’
Nazard 3’
Sexquialter IV
Cimbel III
Trompet 8’
Dulciaan 8’
Vox Humana 8’

Tremulant
Pedaal – Pedal Organ (C–d¹)
Prestant 16’
Subbas 16’
Prestant 8’
Roerquint 6’
Octaaf 4’
Nachthoorn 2’
Mixtuur VI
Bazuin 16’
Trompet 8’
Trompet 4’
Cinq 2’

Couplers
Pedaal – Hoofdwerk
Bovenwerk – Hoofdwerk
Rugwerk – Hoofdwerk

Disposition of the Ahrend organ (1965), Oude Kerk, Amsterdam
(tuning: mean-tone temperament)
Hoofdwerk – Hauptwerk or Great Organ (C–d³)
Prestant 8’
Holpijp 8’
Quintadena 8’
Octaaf 4’
Fluit 4’
Gemshoorn 2’
Nazard 1⅓’
Mixtuur
Scherp
Trompet 8’

Borstwerk – Brustwerk or Breast Organ (C–d³)
Gedekt 8’
Prestant 4’
Octaaf 2’
Dulciaan 8’

Pedaal – Pedal Organ (C–d¹)
Bourdon 16’
Octaaf 8’
Trompet 8’

Controls

Pedaal – Hoofdwerk coupler
Tremulant

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