Jan Welmers: Complete organ works

Jan Welmers Organ Works

Complete organ works by Jan Welmers, by Jan Hage on the Bätz Organ of the Dom Church in Utrecht.

The Volkskrant praised this CD box set very highly:

On Organ Works, Hage pays a beautiful tribute to his teacher, Jan Welmers

Last year, Jan Welmers turned 80. The composer from Zuidlaren in Drenthe, who is best known for his organ works, was honoured with a festival in the churches of Utrecht, the city where he taught at the conservatory. There, he taught Jan Hage, among others, who would go on to become organist of Utrecht's Dom Church.

Hage has now recorded all the music for solo organ written by his teacher until 2016 on three CDs. It has become a beautiful tribute, with which Hage also undermines the image of Welmers as the minimal composer of the organ. The share of repetitive music - think of his 1979 Laudate Dominum - turns out to be quite small. More often you hear blocks of sound and signal twelve-tone technique, but always his works pass through a pale, enigmatic filter: it is as if Welmers has his notes constantly illuminated by a low winter sun.

Even though complex techniques often underlie his compositions, Welmers' compositions require immersion. They demand quite a lot of concentration and (in the more repetitive pieces) of the organist's fingers, who, with the characteristic Bätz organ, also has an instrument with a notoriously heavy touch. No objections for Hage, who once again shows his mastery. The result is sometimes oppressive (Psalm 142), sometimes intoxicating.