Tutorial Ben van Oosten | Verschueren organ

Performing Widor on the Verschueren organ 

Ben van Oosten is an internationally acclaimed expert in the field of French romantic organ music. Especially the organ symphonies from the late 19th and early 20th centuries fascinate him. His book on Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) counts as a classic among organists; according to Van Oosten, Widor was the ‘father of the organ symphony'. The instrument that fits the genre best was created by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in the second half of the 19th century. 

In order to introduce his strategy when performing an organ symphony on an organ that resembles Cavaillé-Coll's sound world, Ben van Oosten takes place at the console of the Verschueren organ in the Orgelpark. The instrument was inaugurated in 2009, and has 41 stops on Pedals, Grand Orgue, Positif, and Récit. Positif and Récit are both enclosed. 

Ben van Oosten takes the first two movements of Widor’s Sixth Symphony as examples. The first movement opens with a powerful, joyous theme, the second movement is more introverted. What tempo, what articulation, what phrasing suits such music best on an organ like this? What role do the acoustics play? May one disobey Widor’s instructions? Van Oosten addresses these issues extensively. 

The tutorial was recorded in the first half of 2021.

Orgelpark tutorial Ben van Oosten Verschueren orgel from Orgelpark on Vimeo.


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