Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Leiden, Pieterskerk 1634 Van Hagerbeer-orgel

Pieterskerk Leiden

The Pieterskerk in Leiden boasts a long and impressive building history. The church was founded in 1121 as a burial chapel, dedicated to St. Peter and Paul, and from that moment, depending on the financial resources, the church built in phases.

In the sixteenth century, St. Peter attained more or less its present form, but the architectural work on the building did not end. A monument of the dimensions that St. Peter has, requires constant maintenance. Over the centuries there have been numerous renovations and restorations. The restoration that St. Peter is currently undergoing, is probably the most comprehensive to date in this tradition.

The history of St. Peter has always been closely linked with that of the city of Leiden University. Many important milestones in the national history are celebrated or commemorated in this venerable city church.
The creation of the Leiden University began with a ceremony at the St. Peter. Through the centuries many important and famous people were buried in the church.
The building has been for centuries the backdrop for concerts, exhibitions, promotions, conferences and many other cultural and social events, and is the beating heart of the city of Leiden and far beyond.

G. Frescobaldi Toccata IV (1627) MATTEO IMBRUNO

G. Frescobaldi Toccata V (1627) MATTEO IMBRUNO

comment: The meantone temperament of this organ is absolute neccessary for Frescobaldi. More depth of the sound, more clarity and surprising harmonies. This is really wonderfull! Forget equal temperament for all music coming from 16th and 17th century music; this is the real thing!!


The Pilgrims

For many Americans, Leiden and especially the Pieterskerk are inextricably linked to the 'Pilgrims', who played such an important role in the colonisation of North America.

The Pilgrims were a group of dissenters from England. Under the reign of James I they were persecuted for religious reasons and fled to Holland. In those days, Leiden was a shelter for many people who had fled their country for religious reasons: almost one third of the total population of approximately 40,000 inhabitants!

Here in Leiden, they enjoyed freedom of religion, speech, press and the right to assemble.

Most of the Pilgrims worked in the flourishing textile industry. One of them, William Brewster, published theological texts. An alley off of the Pieterskerkchoorsteeg was named after him. Since publications by his "Pilgrim's Press" opposed the English King, they frequently caused trouble for the Leiden authorities.

One of the leaders of the Pilgrims, John Robinson, lived opposite the Pieterskerk in what is now the Begijnshof. The Pilgrims held their religious services there. Robinson was buried in the Pieterskerk in 1625. Memorials for Robinson can be found in the form of a commemorative stone in the baptistery and as a brass plaque on the outside of the southern wall of the baptistery.

Information about the Pilgrims was recorded in the baptism, marriage and burial registers of the Pieterskerk, which have now mostly been incorporated into the Leiden City Archives (Gemeente Archief Leiden).

After some time, many Pilgrims came to the conclusion that Leiden was not suitable as a permanent place of residence. First, they found it difficult to adapt to Holland, where they found the customs and morals too liberal for their puritan principles. Furthermore, there was a great deal of uncertainty about their future in the Republic after the ending of the Twelve Year Truce in 1621.
What would happen to them if King James sent English soldiers to help the Dutch fight the Spaniards?

In 1620, a number of Pilgrims sailed to North America on the Mayflower to start a new life. Other groups followed, and the Pilgrims became the leaders of the New Plymouth colony.

It has been said that the American Thanksgiving holiday is derived from the celebration of the 3rd of October in Leiden.


Van Hagerbeer organ

The Pieterskerk has always been the setting for music. In the Middle Ages, choir activity flourished and high quality organ music was played. The earliest history is still unclear but we know that around 1446, a large organ was built against the west wall by an unknown builder. It is unique that a number of the pipes from this organ still exist; these pipes are therefore among the oldest pipes in the world that can still be heard.

W. Byrd The Queen's Alman - MATTEO IMBRUNO

After the collapse of the tower in 1512, the organ was renovated in 1518 by the famous Jan van Covelen. It consisted of three manuals and most likely one or two pedal registers. It is unclear as to if Van Covelen left the existing organ case unchanged.

In any case, the case and especially the Rugpositief was intensively renovated in 1541 and a new sofiet, the network under the Rugpositief, was also added. The Renaissance appearance that was given to the Rugwerk then may still be seen today.

Spurred on by the new idea of using organs to accompany congregational singing, the mayors of Leiden commissioned Galtus and Germer van Hagerbeer, the most famous organ makers of that time, to completely renovate the organ in 1638. The renovation took place between 1639 and 1643.

H. Scheidemann Galliarda ex D MATTEO IMBRUNO

First, a new main case was built by the city architect Arent van 's-Gravensande. The impressive organ case is a 24-foot work (the length of the longest pipe) like the organs in Alkmaar and 's-Hertogenbosch. It was built in the main classical style of the Dutch Golden Age, with shutters on both the Great Organ and the Rugpositief.

The Van Hagerbeer brothers built an organ with many solo registers; in those days, the Vox Humana and the Sesquialtera were especially popular. The instrument must have been very powerful as it had both a Mixtuur, and a Groot Scherp and a small Scherp. For this renovation, the builders used many of the old pipes. Due to continuing changes in taste and musical appreciation, the organ was not preserved in its original state.

Until 1800, the modifications were limited in nature and degree but after that, the organ became increasingly austere in colour and sound. It started when the shutters were sold in 1807. The most drastic alterations, however, were the ones made by the Lohman brothers in 1843-1846. They adapted the colour of the sound and composition to the Romantic symphony orchestra. The entire internal structure was changed. The number of pipes was increased to approximately 3500. Most of the chests (which supply air to the pipes) were renewed. Also, the Hoofdwerk chests of the Great Organ were now positioned along the longitudinal axis of the church, which had an unfavourable effect on the sound. The Lohman brothers also built a pedal according to the views of that time and replaced a number of stops.
Fortunately these organ makers, despite their not very successful changes, did preserve most of the old pipes.

Between 1943 and 1946, exactly one hundred years later, a thorough restoration was carried out by G. van Leeuwen. The historical pipes were preserved but again, the organ was drastically modified to adapt the sound to the then-current ideals. The mechanical system was expanded by using pneumatics and Barker levers.

Between 1994 and 1998, another large-scale restoration took place, done by the Verschueren firm in Heythuysen. Without compromises, the organ was brought back to its original 17th century condition. Thus, this is the only remaining 17th century Dutch city organ, a unique instrument and ideal for performing the organ music of its past. With the restoration completed in 1998 is the great organ of St. Peter in principle returned to the state it was in at the completion of Hagerbeer in 1643.

The original lower pitch and meantone were restored. Leiden has a unique instrument, and is the only major city possessing an organ as specimen of Dutch organ building from the early 17th century. The instrument has a very clean sound and an immense aural spectrum.

G. Frescobaldi Toccata IV (1627) MATTEO IMBRUNO

Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)Toccata in A
Leo van Doeselaar, at the organ of the Pieterskerk (Leiden)

Music of 1650, as of Jan Pietersz. Sweelinck, can now sound like it was meant to.
Only seven stops had to be manufactured entirely new, the others contain a greater or lesser extent of original material. There are also some pipes that Van Hagerbeer retained from the previous organ: pipe work of Jacob van Bilsteyn of 1446 and Jan van Covelens from 1518. These organ builders were of utmost importance for the development of the typical Dutch organ building and found its culmination in the work of the Van Hagerbeers.

The Pieterskerk has an organ blowers guild especially for the Van Hagerbeer organ.


wider keyboard 2nd manual (hoofdwerk)

Prestant 24 B/D', vanaf c dubbel, 15e eeuw/1643 (dubbelkoor 1643 en later)
Prestant 12' B/D, vanaf c dubbel, 15e eeuw/1643 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Bordon 24 D', vanaf dis, 1998
Octaav 6', vanaf c' dubbel, 15e eeuw/1643/1998 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Mixtvvr 4-8 sterk B/D, 15e eeuw/1643/1998
Groot Scharp 6-10 sterk B/D, 15e eeuw/1998
Klein Scharp 5-8 sterk B/D, 15e eeuw/1998
Trompet 12 'D, vanaf dis, 1998
(voor het hoofdwerk afwijkende cijfers vanwege het contra-octaaf)

Prestant 8', vanaf c dubbel, 1643 (dubbelkoor 1643/1998)
Qvintadeen 8', 1643
Octaav 4', vanaf f' dubbel, 1518/1643 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Holpyp 4', 1643
Svperoctaav 2', vanaf f'dubbel, 1518/1643 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Qvintanvs 1 1/2', vanaf gis'' dubbel, 1643 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Svflet 1', vanaf c'' dubbel, 1643/1998 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Mixtvvr 3-8 sterk, 1518/1690/1998
Scharp 3-8 sterk, 1518/1998
Sexqvialtera 2 sterk D, 1998
Cornet 5 sterk D, 1744
Schalmey 8', 1518/1998/18e eeuws

Prestant 8', geheel dubbel, 1643 (dubbelkoor 1643/1998)
Holpyp 8', 1518/1643
Qvintadeen 8', 1643/1998
Octaav 4', vanaf c' dubbel, 1643 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Svperoctaav 2', vanaf c' dubbel, 1643/1998 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Gemshorn 2', 1518/1643
Nasaet 1 1/2', vanaf c'' dubbel, 1643 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Svflet 1', vanaf c'' dubbel, 1998 (dubbelkoor 1998)
Sexqvialtera 2 sterk D, 1998
Tertiaen 2 sterk, 1643/1998
Trompet 8', 1998
Vox Hvmana 8', 1691

Prestant 8', 1643
Octaav 4', 1518/1643
Trompet 16', 1643/1998
Trompet 8', 1998

Koppel Rw - Hw B/D
Tremulant Bovenwerk
Tremulant Rugwerk

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