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Alkmaar: Organs of the Laurenskerk - [FSFDVD008] $55.00

This lavish set containing a DVD (3 hours, 20 minutes) and a CD explores what is perhaps the most beautiful organ in the world, both to hear to view, at The Laurenskerk in Alkmaar, Holland. The DVD actually explores four organs: understanding the creation and characteristics of the gorgeous 1646 van Hagerbeer / 1725 F.C. Schnitger organ is the primary focus; the church has a second and even older illustrious organ: the 1511 van Covellens choir organ is the oldest playable organ in the Netherlands. As well, the DVD documents what the 1646 van Hagerbeer organ was like before F. C. Schnitger rebuilt it by filming and recording two other van Hagerbeer organs: the ones in the Pieterskerk in Leiden and the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam.

The case of the Laurenskerk organ, designed by Palladian architect Jacob van Campen, includes huge, hinged doors which display large oil paintings by Caesar van Everdingen, so Paul Binski, Professor of Art History at Cambridge University, discusses the spectacular case and its paintings.

Organists of the Laurenskerk, Pieter van Dijk and Frank van Wijk, provide in-depth commentary and perform music from Sweelinck to Bach. There is also footage and music from the Pieterskerk in Leiden and the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam played by Leo van Doeselaar and Bernard Winsemius.

The centerpiece of the DVD is a one-hour documentary about the van Hagebeer/Schnitger organ, and it is crammed with extras including a 30-minute film about the history of the van Covelens organ, and more than an hour of demonstrations of the Leiden, Amsterdam and Alkmaar organs, all filled with musical examples – no detail is omitted as the full gamut of stops from the 24’ principal at Leiden to the 16’ cornet at Amsterdam to the unprecedented chamber music reeds at Alkmaar are all heard.

Another 15-minute film features Piet Kee, a famous former organist of the Laurenskerk, giving his thoughts on the organ, plus an erudite explanation of his composition Merck toch hoe sterk, performed in full on camera by Frank van Wijk, who is a former student of his. A 3-minute film about the organ builders Flentrop, who restored the Alkmaar organs and generously sponsored the filming, shows their workshops in Zaandam, including the organ of the Katharinenkirche in Hamburg which was set up in their workshop when we filmed.

Last but not least on the DVD are another 30 minutes of beautifully played performances from all four organs by Pieter van Dijk, Frank van Wijk, Leo van Doeselaar and Bernard Winsemius.

The CD contains a further 78 minutes of music with a nice balance between big works and less familiar pieces; certainly, all the resources of all four organs are richly and fully explored. The color booklet of 32 pages contains handsome photographs, full specifications and registrations as well as detailed notes about music and instruments.

REPERTOIRE - DVD

Alkmaar – van Covelens organ played by Pieter van Dijk and Frank van Wijk

Paul Hofhaimer 1459-1537 Tandernacken 3 hands

Leiden, Pieterskerk: Leo van Doeselaar

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck 1562-1621: “Ons is gheboren een kindekijn” (“Puer nobis nascitur”) (4 variations)

Pieter van Dalem ±1550-±1601: Canzon francese

Amsterdam, Nieuwe Kerk: Bernard Winsemius

Nicolaus Bruhns 1665-1697 Praeludium e minor

Alkmaar – van Hagerbeer / FC Schnitger organ: Pieter van Dijk and Frank van Wijk

 Johann Sebastian Bach 1685-1750: Passepied from 1st Orchestral Suite

Gerhardus Havingha 1696-1753: Ouverture octava

REPERTOIRE - CD

Alkmaar – van Covelens organ played by Pieter van Dijk and Frank van Wijk

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck 1562-1621: Praeludium in F; Pavana Hispanica; Echo Fantasia

Leiden, Pieterskerk: Leo van Doeselaar

Cornelis Schuyt 1557-1616: Padovano et Gagliarda del sesto modo a 6

Anthoni van Noordt 1619-1675: Uit "Tabulatuurboeck van Psalmen en Fantasyen" - Psalm  24 Vers 1. a 4  (Pedaliter) Vers 2. a 4 Vers 3. a 4

Amsterdam, Nieuwe Kerk: Bernard Winsemius

Matthias Weckmann 1616-1674 – Magnificat

Alkmaar – van Hagerbeer / FC Schnitger organ: Pieter van Dijk and Frank van Wijk

Johann Sebastian Bach 1685-1750 Prelude and Fugue in C major 547;Partita Sei gegrüsset Jesu gütig

Piet Kee 1927: Merck toch hoe sterk

Alkmaar: Organs of the Laurenskerk
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