Gwendolyn Toth

Gwendolyn Toth is the director of the New York City-based early music ensemble, ARTEK, and a soloist on early keyboards (organ, harpsichord, fortepiano). She is married to harpsichordist Dongsok Shin, and they have three children.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

In Zeerijp, the Netherlands

I am in Zeerijp, possibly my favorite place on earth (because, it has the largest mean-tone organ in the Netherlands - OK, that's still only 19 stops, but that's plenty for me.) And it/s in the most wonderful acoustic.
I've been practicing both for my next serious concert in Sion, Switzerland, and as well I have rehearsed with Reina Zijlstra, whose family always hosts me here, most generously, in the hidden apartment complex in their Zeerijp barn.

Reina and I will give a concert on Sunday, July 21, for our families and friends here. Dongsok, my husband, will also play, and my niece Karen Toth who arrives on the 19th will sing a duet with Reina. If anybody is in the Groningen area on Sunday, July 21 at 4 pm, come hear a free concert at the Jacobuskerk!

Tonight I practiced until the light finally faded at 10:15 pm (a bit worried I might get locked in accidentally, but fortunately the man across the street who locks up every evening had not come over yet. (I think he can see the lights from the organ in his living room, so perhaps he's too polite to ask me to stop). Several neighbors who I have met in the past have dropped by while I've practiced the past few days just to listen, as well as the occasional tourist. I really am beginning to feel like I know most of the people in the village.'

Here's some pictures from the Zeerijp Jacobuskerk taken today, and a couple tiny short videos: a portion of a piece, and two about the keyboard and pedals which have been restored exactly as in 1653. There will be no Bach here...

Here's the doorway to the church, with its special painting scheme that told medieval travelers that this was a refuge for those pilgrims following the Way of St. James, to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. (They had a long way to go still.) And outside is my bike (kindly loaned by Willem van der Neck) which I use as my basic transportation here.

Next, the the organ as you first see it entering the church.

The organ is located in a balcony with a steep ladder-like stairway up to a room behind the organ, where the wind bellows are located to your left.

Straight ahead is the door to the organ loft.

Going through the door - watch your head, it's a door for those under 5 feet! I've hit my head many times. That's the back of the organ seen through the door. (Ladder is for climbing up to tune the reeds).

Looking out over the organ to the other end of the church.

On my left you can see the tall windows still letting in a lot of light at 8 pm.

Looking straight up as I sit to play, you can see the inscription from 1653 on the organ facade, giving the name of the builder: Theodorus Faber.

Now - here's a short video about the manuals on this organ. They are quite a small range - just 41 notes. (For comparison, my GG - d'' Flemish harpsichord has 56 notes.)

Here's another about the pedals.

Last, here's a portion of Scheidemann's Betrubet ist zu dieser Frist.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos, Gwen! So glad to hear you are enjoying yourself in such a lovely place. Wish I could be there for the concert! But alas, I must continue my job search here in NYC :) Toi toi toi!