NEWS & PREVIEWS
WAR AND PEACE
ORGELFESTIVAL HOLLAND takes place in Alkmaar from 23-30 June.
The festival has three components: the academy of workshops, masterclasses and concerts open to organ students, professional organists and advanced amateurs; the 14th International Schnitger Organ Competition 2023 open to organists born after 30 June 1988; and a programme of concerts and recitals.
The shortlisted competitors are Adam Detzner (US), António Pedrosa (NL), Giulia Ricci (CH), Hyewon Jeong (DE), Jonathan Lee (UK), Karol Szutka (PL), Luca Akaeda Santesson (FR), Martien de Vos (NL), and Susanna Soffiantini (CH). The international jury comprises ECHO organists Reinhard Jaud (Innsbruck), Jean Ferrard (Brussels), Pieter van Dijk (Alkmaar), Bernard Foccroulle (Brussels), Luc Ponet (Leuven), Maurizio Croci (Fribourg), Roberto Antonello (Treviso), João Vaz (Lisbon/Mafra), Clemens Lucke (Freiberg), Yves Rechsteiner (Toulouse), Brita Sjøberg (Trondheim), and Frank van Wijk (Alkmaar/Bergen).
The 2023 festival has adopted the theme ‘European music in times of war and peace’. Artistic director Pieter van Dijk explained: ‘The commemoration of 450 years of Alkmaar’s relief reminds us of the wars of then and now.
‘Our republic and our city of Alkmaar resisted Spanish rule during the Eighty Years War, and the Thirty Years War raged in our neighbouring countries from 1618 onwards. Both wars are linked to the Reformation and are often referred to as a religious war. However, the power-political element predominated.
‘The Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger organ [the main organ in Alkmaar’s Grote Sint Laurens Kerk] has a beautiful painting on its organ shutters depicting the battle between David and Goliath. In 1572 Alkmaar (David) won against the Spanish giant.
‘This organ festival hosts the organists and artistic directors of the European organ cities who, together with Alkmaar, have formed the association European Cities of Historic Organs (ECHO) since 1997. ECHO’s artistic leaders will act as judges at the International
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The battle of David and Goliath painted on the shutters of the Van Hagerbeer/Schnitger organ in Alkmaar
Organ Competition and present themselves musically with European music that evokes a wide range of emotions. The fight is depicted by Spanish and Portuguese batalhas; Heinrich Schütz composed Verleih uns Frieden gnädiglich on the occasion of the Peace of Münster in 1648, which ended both European wars; and music from Alkmaar by Willem de Fesch and Tielman Susato will also be heard. The music that the publisher Susato collected, with its old dances such as the pavane, gives a good impression of what repertoire could have sounded in Alkmaar at the time, perhaps during the siege.
‘The Alkmaar organs [Van Hagerbeer/ Schnitger, 1645/1725 and Van Covelens, 1511] in dialogue with other instruments such as the violin and the singing voice … will demonstrate and amplify feelings of grief and mourning that result from wars.’
Contemporary music also features in the festival’s programme, with a concert of arrangements for organ and percussion of pieces by rock musician Frank Zappa, and the premieres of two new works for solo organ called Da Pacem, by Bernard Foccroulle and Elias Praxmarer. orgelfestivalholland.nl
6 CHOIR & ORGAN JUNE 2023