Feike ASMA

asma2Forever closely associated with the organ of the Great Church of Maassluis (near Rotterdam) is the name of Feike Asma. In 1927, Asma succeeded his father as organist of the Reformed Church of Den Helder. He played the organ of the Hooglandse Kerk in Leiden from 1933 to 1943, afterward moving to the historical organ of the Lutherian Church in The Hague. Asma served as organist here for a period of 22 years, gracing the services and giving many recitals. In 1965, Asma became organist at Maassluis until his death in 1984, again playing for services and in numerous recitals. In the notes to the last recording issued during his life, Mr Jan Quintus Zwart characterised Osma in these words:

“Over half a century, organ virtuoso Feike Asma has achieved his own place among Dutch organists. While giving so many recitals, he was assured of a large audiences of enthusiastic listeners for his recitals throughout Holland, on large and small organs. But he also played in France, the United States, Canada and South Africa, again attracting large audiences to his recitals.”

Asma was a pupil of the legendary organist and historian Jan Zwart. He was a very remarkable person, also due to his very virtuous style of playing. He had many admirers, but he was also received harshly by some critics. Asma, bound to the organ with a deep love for the symphonic orchestra, was the organist who always gave much attention to the large-scale works of the Romantic organ literature. Reger, Liszt, Widor and Franck figured frequently in his programmes, and he also often included some of his own choral music and those of Zwart. As Asma himself once put it: “I’m a man who has the God-given ability of making music, and so I’m glad that I am able to play [for others].” Indeed, this was the foundation of his passion for music and organ playing.

Entirely apart from his achievements as an organist, his choral music stands solidly on its own, and is a touching listening experience – especially when attention is given to how finely the music is crafted to the lyrics in his chorales.