Pipe Organs of Indonesia
J. Batz & Comp, Orgelmakers, Utrecht
Jakarta, the bustling capital of Indonesia, is on the north coast of Java. It is a city of contrasts - old beside new, rich beside poor, beauty beside squalor. It is the eighth largest city in the world. There is an urgency and excitement about this city of 18 million people, which somehow carries the mystery and wonder of the Spice Islands into the modern world.
The oldest and largest pipe organs in Jakarta city is in Gereja Immanuel. This is another circular church, but much larger, better located and better preserved than the Blenduk church. Gereja Immanuel is located in the heart of Jakarta adjacent to the Monas National Monument in a picturesque park setting. The church exterior is glistening white and huge columns rise from the portico to a domed roof some 20 metres above. Quite a remarkable sight in the tropical sun.
This church achieved some fame during World War II as being the repository for funeral urns containing the ashes of cremated Japanese soldiers who had been killed in action during the occupation of Indonesia by Japan. Because of this, the building was not damaged in the looting of Jakarta. Fortunately neither was the organ!
Inside this church a large gallery completely encircles the room. Sitting proudly on the balcony opposite the pulpit is a beautifully restored and fully functioning organ built in 1841 by J. Batz & Comp, Orgelmakers, Utrecht. The organ was dismantled and shipped to Holland in 1984 for a rebuild by Flentrop Orgelbouw BV, Zaandam, Holland. It was returned to the church in 1985 and a member of the church ministerial staff is trained in maintaining the organ in excellent condition. The key desk is built into the side of the case, giving an optimum location for the organist to keep in touch with proceedings and the congregation below on the main floor of the church.
Drawstops are above the music desk in two rows and the coupling stops are located in the right hand jamb. The tracker action is remarkably responsive, although a little heavy, and the lack of a pedal division is quickly compensated for in using the variety of manual colours. The pedal is constantly coupled to lower manual. Winding is by hand pump or electric blower into a large single rise reservoir located on the floor inside the wall space of the church behind the organ.
The classical design of the organ case is imposing because of its sheer size and simple beauty. The dark timberwork gives solidness to the appearance of the organ while contrasting starkly with the pure white walls of the sanctuary and the silvered zinc display pipes. Pipe mouths are gilt. The organ case backs on to the rear wall of the building, is almost square in design and projects into the sanctuary over the gallery railing. It continues on the balcony floor into a large alcove in the wall, leaving plenty of room behind the organ for maintenance access and the blowing equipment.
This is a beautifully balanced organ of rich tonal resource in traditional Dutch style and immense beauty in its carved and filigreed casework. It has great power yet is not loud. It is crisp without harshness. The building aids the blending of tone, being a live and resonant space. I could not judge the reverberation of the church, but guess it to be no more than 3 or 4 seconds. Batz made some fine organs, many of which are still in use and in good condition, and this organ is a tribute to his workmanship, which appears to be faithfully restored by the Flentrop rebuild.
Specification of the organ is:
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