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Curriculum Vitæ Henco de Berg


Reviewer: Peter Sneep
Source: Nederlands Dagblad

I have hardly ever heard anything like it: so robust, so refined, such a grasp of form, so original.

Reviewer: Christo Lelie
Source: Trouw

The blind musician captivates us with more than 75 minutes of improvisations that sound like compositions. They are not only well thought-out in terms of form, but also highly imaginative and colourful.

Reviewer: Aad Alblas
Source: Klassieke Zaken

With such a command of the art of improvisation one is at the very summit.

Reviewer: Herman van Hartingsveldt
Source: Gereformeerd kerkblad

On this CD the St Laurenskerk organ has a radiance that is new to me.

Reviewer: Kees Weggelaar
Source: De Orgelvriend

Let's not beat around the bush: what is to be preferred? Reconstruction improvisations or entirely original sounds? Must one adhere so strictly to a style that one's own identity is sacrificed, or may we "simply" be ourselves? Should we demand absolute originality, or is imitation (whether Renaissance or 20th-century) merely an "easy and safe" path? These questions occurred to me as I listened to Henco de Berg's improvisation CD. This young, blind musician, a pupil of Arie Keijzer and Jet Dubbeldam, has the ability to improvise skilfully for more than 77 minutes on the four-manual Marcussen organ in Rotterdam, without preparation and in a single recording session. He not only has an outstanding mastery of various 20th-century styles, but in his registrations and very clear grasp of form he has complete command of the organ. He never becomes banal, and even in the most virtuosic episodes his self-control is remarkable. His 12-movement Partita on Psalm 142 has many fine moments: the lightly registered harmonisation in Variatie II and a beautiful trio as 4th variation. The 6th variation seems to be taken straight out of Antiphon I (Vêpres op.18) by Dupré; a nice leisurely canonic 9th variation follows, and finally a ff–variation with the cantus firmus in the pedal and fugato imitations. The Trois Pièces, consciously improvised in the style of Vierne and Dupré, reaches a climax in the second piece, where De Berg draws exquisite and evocative flute sounds from the Marcussen organ. This is an ideal instrument for him.


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