Jos Van Der Kooy

Six Sonatas for Organ, Op.65

Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917231526
Catnr: CC 72315
Release date: 27 March 2009
1 CD
Challenge Classics
Catalogue number
CC 72315
Release date
27 March 2009

About the album

They represent milestones in organ literature; the organ sonatas by Felix Mendelssohn. Subtleness, lyricism and emotion are characteristic of this kind of music, which excels in beautiful form and authentic content.

The sonatas were published in London, Leipzig and Milan on 15 September 1845. A fourth edition appeared in Paris at the change of year 1845/46. The opus was dedicated to dr. F. Schlemmer, his wife Cécile Jeanrenaud’s cousin from Frankfort am Main. During a holiday in Frankfort am Main in July 1844, he started composing the sonatas. Existing pieces were incorporated in the sonatas, while newly composed pieces were completed. Already at his parental home in Berlin, Mendelssohn was brought into contact with the music of Bach. On 11 March 1829, he performed Bach’s St. Mat- thew Passion for the first time after the death of the composer. As a child he had followed some organ lessons. As from 1830, he fanatically studied organ music with the objective to perform organ music at concerts. His programmes included works by Bach and improvisations. His performances of Bach’s organ works at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London were sensational. On 6 August 1840, he performed a demanding Bach programme on the organ of St Thomas Church at Leipzig. The proceeds were to fund a monument for Bach that would be erected in 1843.
Een hoogtepunt uit de orgelliteratuur
Dit album bevat Zes sonates voor orgel opus 65 van Felix Mendelssohn, uitgevoerd door Jos van der Kooy. De werken worden gespeeld op het Müllerorgel in de Kathedrale Basiliek Sint Bavo in Haarlem.

De sonates vormen een hoogtepunt uit de orgelliteratuur. De werken worden gekenmerkt door subtiliteit, lyrisme en emotie. De muziek blinkt uit door zijn prachtige vorm en authentieke inhoud. Mendelssohn begon met het componeren van de sonates tijdens een vakantie in Frankfurt am Main in juli 1844. Er werden zowel bestaande als nieuwe werken in verwerkt. Mendelssohn maakte gebruik van de Lutherse koralen, die Bach ook had gebruikt in zijn composities.

Mendelssohn kwam al op jonge leeftijd in contact met de muziek van Johan Sebastian Bach. Hij werd bekend door zijn uitvoering van Bachs Mattheuspassie, als eerste na de dood van de barokcomponist, en zijn sensationele uitvoering van Bachs orgelwerken in de St. Paul’s Cathedral in Londen.

Jos van der Kooy is sinds 1991 stadsorganist van Haarlem. Hij heeft een internationale reputatie als concertorganist, improvisator en kerkmuzikant. Zijn repertoire omvat werken uit bijna alle stijlperioden.
Die Orgelsonaten von Mendelssohn markieren einen Höhepunkt in der Orgelliteratur. Feinfühligkeit, Lyrik und Emotionalität charakterisieren diese äußerst originelle Musik. In seinen Orgelsonaten verwendet Mendelssohn lutherische Choräle, die auch Bach in seinen Kompositionen verarbeitete. Jos van der Kooy ist seit 1991 Stadtorganist von Haarlem. Er hat zahlreiche Preise und Auszeichnungen erhalten.


Jos van der Kooy (born in Rotterdam in 1951) is active in all aspects of musical life: he is city organist, concert organist, choral director and teacher. He is an advocate of the organ as an important instrument in contemporaneous music and other disciplines in art. He is considered a propagandist for the art of organ music; he has the ability to bring this instrument under the attention of media and audiences of prominent concert halls, at home and abroad, but also through organ tours for both adults and children.

Jos van der Kooy is the organist in residence of:

  • St Bavo's Church in Haarlem: at the Müller organ (city organist)
  • The Haarlem Philharmonie: at the Cavaillé-Coll organ (city organist)
  • Westerkerk in Amsterdam: two organs (cantor-organist)
  • The Gothic Hall at the Netherlands Council of State in The Hague, concert organist
Van der Kooy gives numerous organ concerts at home and abroad.
His repertoire includes works from almost all style periodes. In addition, he has performed many pieces of contemporaneous Dutch music in premiere, including pieces by Daan Manneke, Piet Kee, Hans Kox and Wim de Ruiter.

Van der Kooy is teacher of organ, improvisation and church music at:
  • the Academy of Arts , University of Leiden
  • the Royal Conservatory in The Hague
  • the International Summer Academy for organists in Haarlem
He also conducts masterclasses and private lessons.
Choral director Jos van der Kooy is also conductor of Cappella Westerkerk in Amsterdam. Under his guidance, motivated amateur singers rehearse and perform in a professional context.

Prizes and awards:
  • Knighthood in the Order of Oranje-Nassau, 2011
  • Silver Medal, 1989, and Silver Gilt Medal, 2000, of the Société Académique "Arts, Sciences, Lettres", Paris, for services to French music.
  • Prix d'Excellence, as a student of Piet Kee at the Amsterdam Conservatory, 1981
  • First Prize of the International Improvisation Competition, Haarlem, 1980 and 1981
  • First Prize of the National Improvisation Competition, Bolsward, 1978
  • Tournemire Prize, International Organ Festival, St Albans, 1977



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