Pieter Dirksen

Harpsichordist - Musicologist - Organist

Books & Editions
Papers & Lectures
Online Essays
Thematic Overview
of Publications
Concert Reviews


[June 2024]

Bach Restored: Four Concertos and a Partita

A CD containing reconstructions of mine of four concertos (after BWV 1056, 1059, 1063 and 1064) and a Partita (BWV 997), performed by Combattimento, with lead solo roles for our violonists Cynthia Freivogel and Quirine van Hoek. The programme booklet (in English and German) presents extensive background information. Click here for further information.

[May 2024]

Masterly Miniatures for Harpsichord

On the occasion of the 30th birthday of the Dutch Harpsichord Society (SCGN) the Spring issue of their magazine Het Clavecimbel includes a collection of eighteen pieces for harpsichord, the musical greatness of which is quite the opposite of their length. These pieces, beautifully typeset by Vaughan Schlepp, are accompanied by an extensive commentary (in Dutch).

[December 2023]

Froberger's Suites and Tombeaus

A new critical edition of all the suites and tombeaus by this seminal harpsichord composer at Henle Verlag. Click here for further information.

[November 2022]

Scheidemann's Chorale Fantasias

A new critical edition of the nine preserved chorale fantasias by this North German master. Edited in approximate chronological order, they document the three main stages of his compositional development. Click here for further information.

[September 2022]

The Christmas Cantata BWV 197.1

My reconstruction of Bach's cantata "Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe" BWV 197.1 appeared, as part of the Stuttgarter Bach-Ausgaben (Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart). Click here for further information.

[March 2022]

Sweelinck Studies

This collection of Sweelinck articles which I edited in 2002 is available once again! Click here for further information.

[November 2021]

Bach in contrary motion

A study of Bach's use of the esoteric fugal technique of "moto contrario" appeared. See the articles section for the abstract.

[September/October 2021]

Sweelinck Articles

Three Sweelinck studies appeared on the occasion of the centennial. A study of his monumental Ricercar for organ appeared in the September issue of "Het Orgel", while two articles found a home in the 2021 Sweelinck issue of the TVNM: "Sweelinckiana", and "Eustachius Hackert - Een onbekende leerling van Sweelinck", the latter co-authored by Michiel Roscam Abbing. See the articles section for the abstracts.

[August 2021]

Jan Pieterszoon SWEELINCK - de Orpheus van Amsterdam

Ter gelegenheid van het Sweelinck-jaar verschijnt deze maand een monografie, een "leven en werk", gewijd aan deze grote Nederlandse componist. Klik hier voor nadere informatie.

[July 2021]

François Couperin's Pièces d'Orgue

A CD has been released (Toccata TRR 99025) which is devoted to François Couperin's 1690 debut, the magnificent "Pièces d'orgue consistantes en deux messes". Of course, I recorded it on the splendid c.1650 Severijn organ in Cuijk. Click here for further information.

[May 2021]

Bach's Seven Toccatas

A CD containing the Toccatas BWV 910-916, played on my wonderful Ruckers copy by Sebastiàn Nuñez. The programme booklet (English and German) presents a new hypothesis concerning the background of this major collection from Bach's youth. Click here for further information.

[November 2020]

Bach's Flute Concertos

A Bach-Jahrbuch article searching for traces of Bach's lost flute concertos. See the articles section for the abstract.

[May 2020]

2 x 4 Stagioni by Durante and Vivaldi

A CD recording came out from Combattimento wich contains the Four Seasons in both a very well-known (Vivaldi) and completely unknown (Durante) version. The latter is a reconstruction for strings which I made after the keyboard version (or keyboard reduction?) in which format this attractive four-movement concerto has been preserved. The soloists in Vivaldi's Four Seasons are Combattimento's two principal violinists, Cynthia Freivogel and Quirine van Hoek, while Bram Kreeftmeijer plays the principal part in Telemann's wonderful Oboe Concerto in D minor. Alto singer David van Laar contributed an aria by Bach based on Vivaldi's Spring. Apart from being available on the usual online platforms it is also possible to order the CD (with full-length booklet!) here.

[February 2020]

The Chorale Partita "Ach, was soll ich Sünder machen" BWV 770

A study of a comparatively neglected but major keyboard work by Bach (BWV 770), demonstrating that his authorship is beyond any doubt and that it forms a masterfully planned and realised variation cycle integrating several vital influences of Bach's youth. It is datable to the end of his Arnstadt period (c.1706). See the articles section for the abstract.

[November 2019]

The secrets of Couperin's fourth harpsichord book

An article devoted to François Couperin's opus ultimum, his "Quatrième Livre de Pièces de Clavecin" from 1730. It turns out to be a real musical testament. See the articles section for the abstract.

[September 2019]

Buxtehude & Bach: Neue Perspektiven

A study devoted to hitherto unrecognized musical connections between these two masters. See the articles section for the abstract.

[June 2019]

Couperins mysterieuze Vierde Clavecimbelboek

Een artikel gewijd aan François Couperins laatste publicatie, de "Quatrième Livre de Pièces de Clavecin" uit 1730. Op de keper beschouwd blijkt het een waar muzikaal testament te zijn. Zie articles voor de samenvatting.

[May 2019]

Aspects of Early English Keyboard Music before c.1630

A highly interesting collection of twelve essays, edited by David Smith. My contribution, "Towards a canon of the keyboard music of John Bull", presents a new catalogue raisonn of his works. See the articles section for the abstract.

[January 2019]

The Cambridge Companion to the Harpsichord

To this important new volume, edited by Mark Kroll, I contributed two chapters: "The Virginalists" and "Southern Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire to 1750 [Froberger to Gottlieb Muffat]". "In his two chapters ... Pieter Dirksen infuses his brilliant surveys with invaluable insights; he clarifies sources ... and provides probing analyses of pieces by Byrd and Froberger." [Charlotte Mattax in Early Music America]

[September 2018]

Böhm and Bach

An article on authenticity questions in Georg B hms keyboard music, which has many touching points with the music of his pupil Johann Sebastian Bach. See the articles section for the abstract.

[July 2018]

Two Froberger Studies

Two German language articles appeared almost simultaneously. One on the origins of Froberger's harpsichord style as evinced in his suites, as well as its relationship with the early French harpsichord school. Another article deals with the backgound and dating of Froberger's celebrated visit to the Dresden court. See the articles section for the abstracts.

[March 2018]

St. John Passion

On March 10-11 I will direct two performances of Bach's St. John Passion, in the first version of 1724. I made a reconstruction of this version, the most significant feature of which is the absence of flutes. This allows for a much more chamber music-like approach, as befits the character of this master work. Like Bach did in 1724 I will direct this performance from the harpsichord. 10 Maart: Assen/Bovensmilde, Waterstaatskerk, 20.00. 11 Maart: Tiel, Maartenskerk, 20.00, www.passiemuziektiel.nl

[September 2017]

Uitvoeringspraktijk bij Froberger

An essay on various aspects related to the performance of Johann Jacob Froberger's (harpsichord) music. See the articles section for the abstract.

[August 2017]

Cantata 188

My edition of Bach's cantata "Ich habe meine Zuversicht" BWV 188 appeared, as part of the Stuttgarter Bach-Ausgaben (Carus-Verlag, Stuttgart). The source situation for this cantata is notably bad, and the sinfonia was lost safe for its last 34 bars. I made a new reconstruction of this Sinfonia on the basis of the last movement of the harpsichord concerto in d BWV 1052/1052a, and edited the rest of the cantata on the basis of its highly fragmented transmission. Click here for further information.

[March 2017]

St. John Passion

On March 17 I will direct a performance of Bach's St. John Passion, in the first version of 1724. I made a reconstruction of this version, the most significant feature of which is the absence of flutes. This allows for a much more chamber music-like approach, as befits the character of this master work. Like Bach did in 1724 I will direct this performance from the harpsichord. Tiel, Maartenskerk, 20.00. www.passiemuziektiel.nl

[March 2017]

Bach's Fantasia and Fuga in G minor

A full-length article on this seminal organ work: background, form, dating, performance, pairing. See the articles section for the abstract.

[December 2016]

J.S. Bach, Complete Organ Works, Volume 3

The new critical edition of Bach's organ music (Breitkopf & Härtel, Wiesbaden), has now progressed to eight published volumes! The most recent one to appear is edited by me and contains the Fantasias and single Fugues (including the celebrated Fantasia & Fugue in G minor BWV 542). Everything has been freshly edited from the primary sources, the music engraving and lay-out meets the highest aesthetic and practical standards, while an easily accessible, compact Critical Commentary meets all the requirements of the discerning player. An extensive Introduction incorporates the latest Bach research and discusses aspects of background, chronology, transmission, authenticity and performance practice. Click here for further information.

[September-October 2016]

Froberger at 400

In this Froberger year (he was born 400 years ago) I will be contributing the following in the fall:
- 16 September: Den Haag, Paleiskerk, 11.00, lecture-recital (harpsichord): "Froberger in Dresden" (International Schützfestival)
- 25 September: Cuijk, Martinuskerk, 16.00: concert (organ & harpsichord): Froberger & Weckmann (with Introduction)
- 7 October: Middelburg, Lutherse Kerk, 20.00: concert (harpsichord & Duyschot organ): Froberger, Weckmann, Louis Couperin (Opening concert Froberger Festival Middelburg)
- 8 October: Middelburg, Engelse Kerk, 16.00: lecture/demonstration "Uitvoeringspraktijk bij Froberger", followed by a round table discussion (Froberger Festival Middelburg)
- 17 October: Vienna, Franziskanerkirche, 13.00: Froberger Masterclass (Froberger-Tagung Wien)
- 17 October: Vienna, Franziskanerkirche, 21.00: (Wöckherl organ & harpsichord): Froberger & Weckmann (Froberger-Tagung Wien)
- 18 October: Vienna, Institut für Analyse, Theorie und Geschichte der Musik: Vortrag "Froberger und die französische 'Clavecinistes'" (Froberger-Tagung Wien)
The fall issue of the magazine Het Clavecimbel includes an essay on Froberger's life and harpsichord music (English version in preparation)

[July 2016]

Cornet Second Edition

Fifteen years ago, the Complete Keyboard Music by Peeter Cornet appeared, edited jointly by Jean Ferrard (Brussels) and me. This has been out of print for several years, but now a thoroughly revised second edition appeared. The Introduction (which forms a complete study of the life and work of Cornet) and the Bibliography have been thoroughly updated, and a number of errors in the musical text have been emended. Peeter Cornet (c.1575-1630) was organist in the Archducal chapel of Brussels. His surviving keyboard music consists of little more than a dozen pieces, which however are of a remarkably high quality and characterized by lively, improvisatory polyphony as well as great verve and spontaneity. Dominating here are seven mostly very extended fantasias which are equally at home on the organ or the harpsichord. Peeter Cornet seems to have been a real keyboard specialist, as no music in other genres survive; this edition thus at the same time constitutes an Opera Omnia. Click here for further information and reviews of the first edition.

[December 2015]

Sweelinck: The Complete Keyboard Works

The "international" version of the Sweelinck Monument IV, on which I play twelve pieces on two original Ruckers instruments (virginals and harpsichord) and on the organs in Alkmaar and Osteel, and provided the program notes.

[May 2015]

C.P.E.Bach en het clavecimbel

A study (in Dutch) of the role of the harpsichord in the life and music of the second Bach son. See the articles section for the abstract.

[March 2015]

Tunder Organ Works

Together with Vincent van Laar I recorded all of Tunder's organ pieces on the splendid Schnitger organ at Groningen Martini. Click here for further information.

[September 2014]

Sweelinck Monument completed

With the publication of Part IV B, consisting of the second book devoted to the keyboard music with three CD's, the complete recording of Sweelinck's music has been brought to it's conclusion. Accordingly, a presentation and celebration was held in the Oude Kerk on 4 September. For all seven books I wrote the programme notes, and in addition contributed a variety of harpsichord and organ recordings as well as two additional articles to the last two volumes.

[May 2014]

Das Wohltemperierte Clavier

In three concerts (23-25 May) I will perform Bach's non plus ultra, the two parts of his Well-tempered Clavier. See the website of Music Antiqua Nova Groningen. In the fall I will play the First Part in the Bachhaus Eisenach.

[March 2014]

Orlando Gibbons's Keyboard Music

To the volume "Networks of Music and Culture in the Late Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries" (ed. David J. Smith and Rachelle Taylor), published by Ashgate and officially launched at the Horniman Museum in London on 11 March 2014, I contributed an article on the continental connections of Orlando Gibbons's keyboard music, more specifically its relationship with the music of Sweelinck and his school. See the articles section for the abstract.

[December 2013]

A New Recording of Sweelinck's Keyboard Music

Het Sweelinck Monument IV A is published! It consists of the first half of Sweelinck's complete keyboard music, played by Bob van Asperen, Pieter-Jan Belder, Pieter van Dijk, Pieter Dirksen, Leo van Doeselaar, Reitze Smits, Harald Vogel en Bernard Winsemius, accompanied by an extensive program book. I contributed ten pieces (Toccatas C3, g4 and a2, Fantasias G2, G3 and a3, Allein zu dir, O Mensch bewein dein Sünde Gross (canon), Almande Gratie and Mein junges Leben hat ein End), performed on the 1511 Van Covelens organ at Alkmaar, the 1619 Evers organ at Osteel and the 1604 Ruckers virginal, as well two texts: detailed program notes for all 36 pieces recorded here, and a separate study of Mein junges Leben hat ein End. Click here for ordering information

[October 2013]

A Bach Trio Sonata from the Weimar Period

Ten years ago the Bach-Jahrbuch published a study of mine on the prehistory of the Organ Sonata in E minor BWV 528 (see articles), which as a whole can be traced back to a Sonata for Oboe, Viola da gamba and Continuo from c1714. It thus forms one of the rare traces of chamber music before the Cöthen-Leipzig period. This edition offers a reconstruction of that work, offering (strictly based on the historical evidence) the possibilities to perform it with either oboe d'amore and viola da gamba (in E minor) or oboe and viola (in G minor). Click here for further information.

[September 2013]

Scheidemann (and Selle) celebrated in Hamburg, 5-8 September

On the occasion of the 350th year of death of two important Hamburg composers, Heinrich Scheidemann (c.1595-1663) and Thomas Selle (1599-1663), a Festival is devoted to them in their own city. An international symposium studies their life and work as well as the background of the newly reconstructed organ in Hamburg St. Catharinen, where Scheidemann was organist all his life. And of course, in a number of concerts their music will sound. I have the honour to participate as an "artist in residence", giving a paper on Scheidemann, playing his music on both the (Catharinen) organ and the harpsichord as well as taking part in a complete performance of Johann Adam Reincken's Hortus Musicus (Reincken was Scheidemann's successor and son-in-law). Click here for full information

[November 2012]

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach's Organ Music

A dozen years ago I published a study in Dutch on the authorship of the Prelude and Fugue in F minor BWV 534, concluding that W.F. Bach was its most likely author. Here this ascription is freshly discussed within the context of all organ works which may or may not be by the eldest son. See the articles section for the abstract.

[September-October 2012]

Sweelinck recitals

After having commemmorated Sweelinck at 450 years in a harpsichord festival in May, I will continue this Fall to give recitals consisting mostly or solely of works by the master on both organ and harpsichord. The Sweelinck repertoire of these concerts consists of more than thirty pieces or about half his oeuvre.
- 7 September: Münster Lambertikirche, 20.00 (organ)
- 8 September: Tholen, Oude Stadhuis, 20.00 (harpsichord; with introductory lecture)
- 23 September: Treviso, Santa Caterina, 16.30 (organ)
- 6 October: Deventer, Grote Synagoge, 19.30 (harpsichord) - Sweelinck-Festival Deventer
- 7 October: Pomssen, 17.00 (Richter organ 1671)
- 8 October: Leipzig, Musikhochschule, Sweelinck Masterclass
- 14 October: Groningen, Lutherse Kerk, 16.00 (harpsichord) - Sweelinck-Integrale Groningen
- 15 October: Amsterdam, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Doelenzaal, 15.00 (harpsichord)

[August 2012]

Leonhardt Symposium

From 31 August to 2 september a Symposium will be held which is dedicated to the memory of Gustav Leonhardt (1928-2012). I organised the second day, which is devoted to the North German repertoire of Bach's predecessors. Speakers will include Lars Berglund, Ulf Grapenthin, Michael Maul, Stephen Rose, Geoffrey Webber and Peter Wollny. My talk is devoted to authenticity questions in the keyboard music of Georg Böhm. 1 september 2012, Utrecht, Academiegebouw (Senaatszaal). Click here for further information.

[January 2012]

In Memoriam Gustav Leonhardt (1928-2012)

On January 16, 2012 Gustav Leonhardt died - an incomparably great musician and human. He was always a shining example and also a good friend. My harpsichord recital on January 21 (Heukelum, 20.00), where I will play three of Bach's Partita's, will be dedicated to his memory.

[November 2011]

Samuel Scheidt's Manuscript Keyboard Music

It is already two decades ago that I published an article on Scheidt's keyboard music preserved solely in manuscript (Sch tz-Jahrbuch), discussing matters of authenticity, transmission, style and chronology. The now finally realized edition (Breitkopf & Härtel) forms the obvious sequel to this early study. The preface offers a condensed and considerably updated version of the article, and the edition contains no less than 25 pieces: toccatas, fantasias, but above all variations - on chorale melodies, song tunes and dances. This corpus forms an attractive and on the whole somewhat nimbler appendix to the (often rather forbidding) music in the Tabulatura Nova. Click here for further information.

[August 2011]

Vivaldi Bassoon Concerti vol. II

A second Vivaldi CD with La Suave Melodia appeared on the EtCetera label, again principally devoted to concerti with bassoon, played by the incomparable Amsterdam virtuoso on the baroque bassoon Frans Robert Berkhout. Other distinguished soloists featured here are Georgia Browne (flute), Franc Polman (violin) and Cassandra Luckhardt (violoncello). Click here for further information and [by November] some very favourable reviews!

[May-June 2011]

Bach Harpsichord Recitals in May and June

In three recitals in Utrecht (Lutherse Kerk) I will play some of Bach's most beautiful harpsichord music: the Art of Fugue, Italian Concerto and Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue (1 May), the Goldberg Variations (22 May) and three Partitas, including the Sixth in E Minor (12 June). The Art of Fugue will be performed in the 'short' 12-movement Urfassung from 1742 which I revealed in my 1994 monograph on the work. In addition, I will give a Bach recital on 11 June in Tiel. See the Calendar for further details.

[January 2011]

Johann Christoph Bach's Keyboard Music

A decade ago I published an edition of the four larger keyboard pieces by Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703). The accompanying article, which discusses in greater detail the transmission and authenticity of these and other keyboard music surviving from or attributable to this great-uncle of J.S. Bach, had to wait until last year to be finished and has now appeared in the 2010 issue of the Bach-Jahrbuch. See the articles section for the abstract.

[December 2010]

J.S. Bach, Complete Organ Works, Volume 5

Together with Werner Breig and Reinmar Emans I am on the Editorial Board of a new critical edition of Bach's organ music, published by Breitkopf & Härtel (Wiesbaden). The first two out of ten scheduled volumes have appeared this month, one of which is edited by me. Volume 5 contains the Sonatas, Trios and Concerto Transcriptions. Everything has been freshly edited from the primary sources, the music engraving and lay-out meets the highest (practical) standards, while a compact Critical Commentary meets all the requirements of the discerning player. An extensive Introduction, which incorporates the latest Bach research, discusses aspects of background, chronology, transmission, authenticity and performance practice. Click here for further information.

[October 2010]

Sweelinck Week

From 19 to 24 October I will be touring in the Early Music Network with the Gesualdo Consort in an all-Sweelinck program. Inbetween vocal psalms and madrigals I will play several harpsichord pieces, including the celebrated Hexachord and Chromatic Fantasias. This week will also see the appearance of the last two volumes of the Sweelinck Monument, the complete recording of his vocal music by the Gesualdo Consort in six installments, for which I wrote a corresponding number of essays exploring the background of this wonderful music. For more information see the website of the Sweelinck Monument, and for dates and venues of the six concerts see my Calendar.

[September 2010]

Goldberg Variations CD acclaimed!

"Diese Aufnahme geh rt zu den musikalischen Ereignissen des Jahres."
"This is glorious Bach playing, sensitive to both musical and historical context. [Rating: 5 stars]"
"Eine usserst fesselnde Interpretation ... eine ganz nat rliche, in jeder Hinsicht berzeugende Einspielung."
"Enregistrement Soli Deo Gloria selon le voeu de Bach."
For fuller excerpts of reviews, click here.

[March 2010]

De Geheimen van de Matthäus-Passion

Onder deze titel verscheen een bundel met 10 essays over de Matthäus-Passion, geschreven door een keur van binnen- en buitenlandse autoriteiten op het gebied van Bachs muziek, onder redactie van Pieter Dirksen. Het boek ontsluit een aantal 'geheimen' van de Matthäus-Passion: de ontstaansgeschiedenis, de tekst en de daarin besloten theologische achtergronden, de instrumentatie, de aria's, de koralen, de (Nederlandse) receptiegeschiedenis en aspecten van de uitvoeringspraktijk. Verder bevat het boek een facsimile van de originele tekst van Picander. Voor verdere informatie klik hier.

[February 2010]

Bach's Goldberg Variations

A double CD devoted to the most celebrated and perhaps also the most beautiful harpsichord work ever, played on my splendid double-manual Ruckers copy by Sebastiàn Nuñez. As a bonus I added the highly ingenious sequel to the Goldbergs, the Canonic Variations on 'Vom Himmel hoch, da komm ich her' BWV 769 for organ, recorded on the 1734 Hinsz organ of Leens. Click here for further information.

[August 2009]

Martin Geck Festschrift

On the occasion of the 70th birthday of Martin Geck, a volume of Bach essays written by his friends and colleagues has been published. My article is devoted to the historical background of Bach's chorale partitas. See the articles section for the abstract.

[April 2009]

Bach's Sonatas with Viola da Gamba

A CD which does not only include the three well known Sonatas for Viola da Gamba and obbligato Harpsichord (BWV 1027-1029), but also the world premiere of my reconstruction of the Sonata for Oboe (d'amore), Viola da Gamba and Continuo after BWV 528. In addition, this well-filled disc (nearly 78'!)includes another reconstruction - a chorale trio - for the same combination as well as Bach's only 'real' Harpsichord Sonata BWV 964. I am joined here by Cassandra Luckhardt (viola da gamba) and Alfredo Bernardini (oboe).

[January 2009]

Lully's Phaeton

This month a staged version of Jean Baptiste Lully was succesfully premiered. I have the musical direction and play the harpsichord. We made a chamber version out of this sumptuous court spectacle, with just six singers and five instrumentalists. There are eight more performances throughout the Netherlands in February, March and April. For more information click here, for the playlist see my Calendar.

[August 2008]

Bach's 'Mystery' Violin Concerto

An article on Bach's Violin Concerto in in G minor appeared. It tries to finally establish the exact nature, content and dating of this up till now rather elusive piece, which once must have stood on equal footing with the celebrated violin concertos in E major and A minor.

[Mei 2008]

Scheidemanns Clavecimbelmuziek: 'Luister 10'

De kortgeleden verschenen CD met de clavecimbelwerken van Heinrich Scheidemann heeft in het Maandblad 'Luister' vijf sterren toegekend gekregen, gelijk aan wat tot voor kort als de 'Luister 10' gold.

[April 2008]

Vivaldi Concerti

Another CD which appeared on the EtCetera label, devoted to concerti by Vivaldi for or with solo bassoon, which is played by the Amsterdam virtuoso Frans Robert Berkhout. Other soloists featured are the flutist Georgia Browne, the violinist Rachael Beesley and the alto Clint van der Linde; the latter sings a Vivaldi cantata with a prominent bassoon part. La Suave Melodia is led by Pieter Dirksen. Click here for further information.

[January 2008]

Heinrich Scheidemann's Harpsichord Music

A new CD containing the larger part of Scheidemann's harpsichord music, mostly consisting of first recordings (at least as played on harpsichord!). This part of his oeuvre has been much neglected, and this in contrast with the composer's organ music. In the 18 pieces recorded here Scheidemann demonstrates himself as a highly imaginative composer for the harpsichord and in every sense a worthy successor to his teacher Sweelinck. Click here for further information.

[November 2007]

Bach's Leipzig Chorale Fughettas

An edition which for the first time brings together eight chorale fughettas for the Advent and Christmas period in their probable original order. These much maligned manualiter works, usually discarded as early pieces, on closer scrutiny reveal themselves as highly sophisticated and mature Leipzig compositions, which in all likelihood originated in the 1740s. The cycle also includes the New Year's Fughetta 'Das Jesulein soll doch mein Trost' BWV 702, a work hitherto considered as doubtful. Click here for further information.

[August 2007]

Art of Fugue recording acclaimed

"Not only is this one of the very finest harpsichord recordings yet to have been issued, on any format at any time; it is the product of some of the very finest of Bach scholarship and reconstruction, mostly by the player himself. The result demands from me complete congratulation, and for once a confession of overwhelming conviction that, if this was not the most accurate route through which The Art of Fugue has come down to us, it must be an amazingly close guess as to its origins. If you love the final result, this is undoubtedly the performance to hear. Buy your copy now."
[Stephen Daw in Early Music Review]

[July 2007]

Lexikon der Orgel

Dieses grossangelegtes Lexikon, ediert von Hermann J. Busch und Matthias Geuting und erschienen beim Laaber-Verlag, enth lt acht Personenartikel von meiner Hand: 'Johann Christoph Bach', 'John Bull', 'Girolamo Frescobaldi', 'Hieronymus, Jacob & Michael Praetorius', 'Heinrich Scheidemann' und ... 'Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck'.

[June 2007]

Sweelinck's Fantasias

The final volume of the Breitkopf Sweelinck edition appeared, which consists of the Fantasias. This 223-page volume contains in all 29 works, including five doubtful works. It contains many of Sweelinck's greatest masterpieces, such as the Fantasia Crommatica, the Hexachord Fantasia and the Fantasia contraria. The new editorial principles, which follows the barring, stemming and hand-division of the primary sources, does shed much new light on their interpretation. In an appendix I offer a fresh discussion of the instrument question of Sweelinck's keyboard oeuvre as a whole, demonstrating (I think) that Sweelinck made a clear differentiation between pieces for the organ or for the harpsichord. Click here for full information.

[Mei 2007]


Deze maand is het driehonderd jaar geleden dat de grote Noordduitse componist Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707) overleed. Ter gelegenheid daarvan geef ik vier concerten en een masterclass. Het "eigenlijke" herdenkingconcert op Buxtehudes sterfdag, 9 Mei, vindt plaats in Amsterdam. Hier klinken niet alleen de vier schitterende sonates met twee violen en viola da gamba en een met een viool en gamba, maar ook twee door mij herontdekte werken van de L beckse meester: de fraaie "Amsterdamse" Suite voor clavecimbel en een tot dusverre volkomen onbekende, schitterende koraalfantasie voor orgel. Het eerste exemplaar van de uitgave van deze koraalfantasie (Breitkopf & Härtel) zal op deze avond aan de heer Gustav Leonhardt worden overhandigd.

6 Mei, Utrecht Lutherse Kerk, 16.00 (met La Suave Melodia): sonates en clavecimbelmuziek
8 Mei, Kempen [over de grens bij Venlo] Paterskirche, 20.00 (met La Suave Melodia): sonates en orgelmuziek
9 Mei, Amsterdam Waalse Kerk, 20.15 (met La Suave Melodia): sonates, clavecimbel- en orgelmuziek
12 Mei, Cuijk Martinuskerk, 11-16.30: Studiedag "Buxtehudes Orgelkoralen", met een inleiding en presentatie van de nieuw-ontdekte koraalfantasie (zie verder Severijn-Orgel)
13 Mei, Cuijk Martinuskerk, 16.00: orgelmuziek (uiteraard inclusief de nieuw-ontdekte koraalfantasie! Dit stuk speel ik ook nog op de orgels van Alkmaar Laurenskerk (24 Juni), Amsterdam Nieuwe Kerk (1 Juli), Nijmegen (3 Juli), Gronsveld (8 Augustus), Naumburg (17 Augustus) en Groningen Martinikerk (13 October).

[March 2007]


At last, my monograph on the organ an harpsichord music of Heinrich Scheidemann (c.1595-1663) has been published. It contains studies of the manuscripts with Scheidemann's music, a discussion by genre entailing observations on style, chronology and performance practice as well as separate chapters on Scheidemann's organ, his registration practice and fingering system. For further information, see the corresponding page in the Books & Editions section.

[November 2006]


My by far largest contribution to the German music encyclopedia Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart appeared. Apart from a thorough reassessment of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck's life and work it also includes the 'short' version of the new catalogue ('Werkverzeichnis") of Sweelinck's oeuvre.

[October 2006]

Louis Couperin CD

In het tijdschrift Luister van October 2006 kreeg mijn CD Louis Couperin: Pièces d'Orgue, 1650-1659 de zeer hoge waardering 'Uitvoering 9 à 10'.

In the Dutch classical magazine Luister (October 2006) my CD Louis Couperin: Pièces d'Orgue, 1650-1659 was given the very high performance ranking '9 to 10' .

[June 2006]

Two New Articles

This month two studies appeared, which can both be seen as descendants of the "Fantasia" chapter in my book on Sweelinck's keyboard music. The first one is on Samuel Scheidt's keyboard fantasias, a corpus heavily influenced by his teacher but also showing some sigificant conceptual differences. The other one tries to clear up the fog still surrounding the stylus phantasticus. Abstracts of these articles are now to be found on the articles page.

[April/May 2006]

International Organ Courses

Pieter Dirksen will contribute with lessons, lectures and concerts to two international organ master classes, to be held in Smarano/Trentino (27-30 April) and in Leeuwarden (4-8 May, Organ Festival under the auspices of the Prins Claus Conservatorium, Groningen) respectively. For further information, see Smarano International Organ Academy and Orgelfestival.

[February 2006]


Pieter Dirksen has become member of the Wissenchaftliches Gremium (scientific committee) of the Bach-Jahrbuch.

[January 2006]

Louis Couperin: Pièces d'Orgue

A CD has been released (Toccata TRR 99012) recorded on the c.1650 Severijn organ in Cuijk (the website on this organ and its concerts has been renewed). Louis Couperin's organ music though rediscovered already in the 1950s, became available only a few years ago. As I argue in the booklet, the splendid Cuijk organ must be considered the instrument which at present is the one which most closely approaches Couperin's instrument in Paris St. Gervais. The CD contains a selection of 26 pieces.

[November 2005]

A New Edition of Johann Adam Reincken's Organ Music

Just published by Breitkopf & Härtel is my new edition of Reincken's chorale fantasias for organ and toccatas for harpsichord (which are also playable on the organ). Jan Adamsz Reincken (1643-1722), who was born in Deventer from German parents, was the pupil, son-in-law and successor of Heinrich Scheidemann at the Hamburg Catharinenkirche. One of the most famous organists and improvisers of his day, he was a close friend of Dietrich Buxtehude and much admired by the young Johann Sebastian Bach but left regrettably little organ music.

The edition contains the two big chorale fantasias An Wasserfl ssen Babylon and Was kann uns kommen an f r Not, four toccatas and one fugue. Two of the toccatas have not been transmitted with an attribution to Reincken but are ascribed by me on stylistic grounds. One of them, also known by its BWV number (Anhang III 178) has been unavailable in print for more than a century; it had the honour of having been ascribed to both Purcell and Bach (and being edited in their old Gesamtausgaben), but it cannot be by either composer, nor by other contenders like Michelangelo Rossi, Robert King or Wilhelm Hieronymus Pachelbel. In the articles section you can find the abstract of a study of mine from 1998, which led to the identification of Reincken as being the by far most likely author of this splendid keyboard piece. Another fine toccata, surviving under the undoubtedly false flag of Girolamo Frescobaldi, is printed here for the first time and tentatively attributed to Reincken as well. My point of view in such matters is that editions such as these can hardly contain too much music, only too little, and that decisions in questions of authorship are best left to the player/reader rather than the editor who in that case would effectively hide such pieces from the general judgment. The delightful G minor Fugue, whose authorship has recently laid under heavy fire (undeservedly so, as it turns out), is of course included here as well.

[September 2005]

Sacred Dialogues in Maastricht

In the Musica Sacra Festival held in Maastricht Pieter will lead a project with four vocalists and the ensemble La Suave Melodia devoted to sacred dialogues from the seventeenth century featuring the Angels and Devils of the Festival s main theme. Besides works by Matthias Weckmann and the Dutchman Benedictus a Sancte Josepho the program includes an unedited dialogue by the remarkable Italian composer Alessandro della Ciaia: Michaelis victoria et Luciferi casus.

Engelen en Duivels in Maastricht

In het Festival Musica Sacra Maastricht zal Pieter een project leiden met vier vocalisten en het ensemble La Suave Melodia. Het programma is gewijd aan geestelijke dialogen uit de zeventiende eeuw bevolkt door de Engelen en Duivels die het hoofdthema van dit Festival vormen. Naast stukken van Matthias Weckmann en Benedictus a Sancte Josepho bevat het programma het onuitgegeven Michaelis victoria et Luciferi casus van de hand van een bijzondere Italiaanse componist, Alessandro della Ciaia.

Zondag 18 september 2005 - Maastricht, Kapel Zusters onder de bogen, 14.30 uur

"De organist Pieter Dirksen leidde een van de beste Nederlandse Ensembles, La Suave Melodia, tijdens een prachtig concert waarin de bas Donald Bentvelsen het won van andere Lucifers in het festival in de dialoog [Ruina Luciferi van] Benedictus a Sancte Josepho. (De Volkskrant, 19 september 2005)

[August 2005]

A 'new' organ in Wadenoijen

The restoration of the organ in the church of my home village, Wadenoijen, is completed! It concerns an organ which goes back to c.1630 (Antonie Verbeeck) and which survived in its rebuilt state of 1808 (Albert van Gruisen). The restoration was carried out by the organ maker Albert de Graaf.

Een 'nieuw' orgel in de Hervormde kerk van Wadenoijen

Ten tijde van de in 2004 voltooide restauratie van de monumentale kerk van Wadenoijen werd gezocht naar een geschikt (historisch) orgel voor deze kerk. De keus viel op een instrument dat eigendom was van orgelbouwer Albert de Graaf (Leusden/Zwolle). Het betreft hier een orgel met zeventiende-eeuwse front- en kastdelen en een grote hoeveelheid pijpwerk uit die tijd. Dit pijpwerk blijkt van de hand van Antonie Verbeeck (c.1585-c.1642). Deze, uit het zuiden van het land afkomstige orgelmaker, vestigde zich in 1617 te Leeuwarden en vertrok na enkele jaren naar Groningen. Wanneer dit instrument precies gebouwd is en voor welke kerk is onbekend. Volgens een niet te verifi ren mededeling stond het orgel oorspronkelijk in de Hervormde Kerk van Brantgum (Friesland), waarna het in de tweede helft van de achttiende eeuw in de Rooms-Katholieke Schuilkerk van Dokkum zou zijn beland. De huidige vorm kreeg het orgel daar in 1808, na een ingrijpende verbouwing door de Leeuwardense orgelmaker Albert van Gruisen (1741-1824). In 1873 plaatste de orgelbouwer Ypma het in de nieuwe, door Cuypers gebouwde Rooms-Katholieke kerk te Dokkum; bij deze gelegenheid kreeg het zijkantbespeling. In 1883 werd het orgel vervangen door een instrument van Lambertus van Dam en verkocht aan G. Wüst, die het doorverkocht aan de Christelijk Gereformeerde Gemeente van Enumatil (West-Groningen). In 1923 verhuisde het instrument opnieuw, nu naar de Gereformeerde Kerk van Boerakker. Hier werd in 1930 een nieuwe kerk gebouwd, waarbij de overplaatsing van het orgel verzorgd werd door de Fa. Leemhuis & Holtman (Zuidbroek).

Nadat het meerdere malen gewijzigde instrument in verval begon te raken (historische onderdelen als klaviatuur en windvoorziening waren ondertussen verloren gegaan), werd in de jaren 1977-1985 getracht een restauratie te realiseren. Uiteindelijk werd besloten een groter, nieuw orgel te laten maken, in 1991 voltooid door Albert de Graaf. Hij verwierf het nog ongerestaureerde Verbeeck/Van Gruisen-orgel en sloeg het in zijn werkplaats te Leusden op. In 2004 werd het door de Nederlands Hervormde Gemeente Tiel-Wadenoijen
voor de kerk van Wadenoijen aangekocht; tevens werd opdracht verleend aan De Graaf voor een grondige restauratie/reconstructie van dit belangrijke historische instrument. Deze restauratie werd in augustus j.l. afgesloten. Van Gruisens aanleg als balustradeorgel werd daarbij gewijzigd in een constructie met een nieuwe onderkast waarin de nieuwe windvoorziening, mechaniek en klaviatuur een plaats hebben gevonden; ook werd een bescheiden aangehangen pedaal toegevoegd. De dispositie, die in de loop der tijden was gewijzigd, is zoveel mogelijk naar de toestand van 1808 hersteld. Met name de circa 150 pijpen van Antonie Verbeeck vormen een unieke verzameling, maar ook opvallend is de factuur van de eveneens zeer oude Prestant 8 discant. Samen met het aandeel van Van Gruisen en de completeringen van De Graaf (waaronder een geheel nieuwe Sesquialtera discant) is een bijna vier eeuwen omspannend bestand ontstaan. Een uitgebreidere publicatie is in voorbereiding. De kleurstelling van de kas (ivoorwit met vergulde ornamentiek) is in samenhang met de positie in de kerk bepaald. Deze restauratie is het laatste werk van Albert de Graaf, die daarmee een lange en indrukwekkende carrière als orgelmaker afsluit.

Manuaal (C-f3; lade: Van Gruisen)
Holpijp 8'            C-A hout Van Gruisen, rest metaal Verbeeck
Prestant 8 D        vier pijpen Van Gruisen, rest onbekend (c.1700?)
Octaaf 4'             Verbeeck en Van Gruisen; Dis-h in het front
Fluit d'amour 4'   grotendeels Van Gruisen (?)
Quintfluit 2 2/3'   Verbeeck, Van Gruisen en De Graaf
Octaaf 2'             Verbeeck
Sesquialtera II D   De Graaf
Tremulant            De Graaf

Pedaal (C-g) aangehangen
Winddruk: 64 mm. wk.
Toonhoogte: a1 = 440 Hz.
Temperatuur: 1/6-komma naar Bellingwolde (met twee overzwevende 1/6-komma kwinten en twee reine kwinten).