On this recording
NOT just another Bach organ recording!
Indeed, not just 'another' Bach recording. Firstly, let me say that we cannot have enough Bach recordings in the world we live in today. What human creation can bring more inspiration for peace than Bach's music?
Secondly, this isn't just a "Bach recording". This production is the figurative icing on the cake of a project that started almost 20 years ago. It began with the ambitious and, some might say, quite unrealistic goal of building an organ for Bach.
It took an amazing team of dedicated people more than a decade to secure the necessary funds, location, organ builders, partners, and volunteers to achieve the remarkable result that can now be admired at Saint-Michael's Church in Leuven, Belgium. Years of research, analysis, tryouts, metallurgy, and more culminated in something that every visitor cannot help but admire—an organ that possesses a certain uniqueness and expressiveness rarely found. Further details about this project can be found on the Contius Foundation's website, named after Heinrich Andreas Contius, the 18th-century organ builder who inspired this entire endeavor.
For all these reasons and many more, this music production is more than just "another Bach recording." It represents the final step in a lengthy process. With this recording, we aim to share the outcome of our work with people all around the world.
A community project designed for YOU and the Contius organ!
It would have been easy to simply produce this recording and present it to you. However, we wanted to take it a step further! Since this project has been a collaborative effort involving many individuals, we sought to create an opportunity for all of you to become a part of it. So, how are we going to achieve this?
We didn't want to just produce a CD and LP that you could purchase afterward. Therefore, the production is set up as a crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter. On our Kickstarter page, you can explore various packages with a notable benefit: your name will be featured on the cover, ensuring your perpetual contribution to this project.
But there's more. Once we reach the threshold of 6.000€, which is necessary for the production, Authentic Sound will donate 50 copies of each CD and LP, along with the brochure (more details below), to the Contius Foundation. The foundation can sell these items and use the proceeds to fulfill their numerous needs. Upon reaching the second goal of 10.000€, we will double the donation amount.
That's not all. From all the sales of this production made after the conclusion of this Kickstarter campaign, we will donate 20% to the foundation. This commitment will remain in place as long as Authentic Sound continues to exist as a company.
We want to bring the beauty of this organ to YOU!
As people from all around the world come together to make this project possible, we wanted to ensure that the beauty of the Contius organ reaches every supporter, regardless of their location. That's why we will create a brochure featuring stunning pictures of the organ, which will be available at a specific tier level on Kickstarter. We will fully finance the creation, layout, and production of this brochure. As mentioned earlier, if the Kickstarter campaign is successful, 50 (or even 100) copies of the brochure will be donated to the foundation.
Don't worry if you are unable to support the Kickstarter at such a high tier level—we have got you covered! Every customer will receive a QR code, granting access to the digital version of the brochure. Additionally, the Contius Foundation will have the opportunity to provide digital access to the brochure for all visitors during future concerts or events.
Proudly dedicated to Jean-Pierre Baron de Bandt
The CD and LP are dedicated to Jean-Pierre Baron de Bandt. Exactly 20 years ago, Mr. de Bandt accepted the role of chairman for what would eventually become the Contius Foundation. Without his unwavering dedication and support throughout the years, this project, and consequently, this production, would never have come to fruition. It is with great pride that we inscribe his name on the covers of this recording as an eternal reminder.
The recording is performed by Wim Winters. Wim is one of the initiators of this project, having visited the inspiring project in Göteborg as early as 1999. Since 2021, he has served as the titular organist for the Contius Foundation's organ. Wim is also the founder of the Authentic Sound label, which is dedicated not only to organ music but also clavichord and fortepiano. In the latter, he focuses on a specific project that involves reconstructing music by Beethoven and later composers based on new insights into their use of the metronome. The results of this study, co-authored with his colleague Dr. Lorenz Gadient, will be published in 2024 as a book.
The Program and the Contius organ
Bach had been acquainted with the Contius family for a long time. Heinrich Andreas Contius was quite young when his father, Christoph Contius, passed away. Christoph Contius was responsible for constructing the renowned organ in Halle, an instrument that Bach held in great esteem. Bach even came close to becoming the organist there and later his eldest son, Friedemann Bach became titular organist. Towards the end of his life, Bach bolstered Heinrich's career by providing a letter of recommendation, describing him as one of the finest organ builders of his time.
It is not just this historical connection that makes the late Contius school fascinating. We can discern certain elements in Heinrich's work that undoubtedly piqued Bach's interest—an evolution towards a slightly more "elegant" organ sound, a characteristic observed throughout Europe during that era. These organs retained the gravitas of the Silbermann instruments but incorporated different shades of tonality.
What renders the Leuven-Contius organ truly unique is the absence of any instrument crafted by Contius himself left untouched, leaving us unable to fully comprehend the sound he intended to achieve. Leuven becomes the first place to present to the world a possible sonic evolution in organ building that Bach may have supported during his final years. The Leuven Contius organ stands as a missing link within the auditory landscape Bach inhabited. The program selected for this recording aligns with the objective of showcasing the organ's diverse palette and bringing forth its myriad of tonal "colors."