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to Chronological Entry    > > > > > > > > 1898  WILLEM DE VRIES - ORGANIST AND CARILLONNEUR

Nos iungit Amicitia
Willem de Vries was organist of the Great or St. Stephanus Church and carillonneur of its Tower at Nijmegen from 1898 until his death in 1936. Some of his manuscripts were handed to his successor, the young Utrecht organist Arie Peters, and thus formed the basis of Arie Peters' carillon library. The manuscript collection includes music notations of folk songs, historical songs, spiritual songs, narrative songs, military songs, love songs, drinking songs, student songs, sailor songs, nursery rhymes, German songs, varia, strange folk songs, and opera music. Common feature of these tunes is their suitability to be played on the carillon.
  • Image left: Picture of Willem de Vries, presumably at home, in the thirties of the twentieth century (picture collection Arie Peters)


    Arie Peters
    Arie Peters succeeded Willem de Vries as organist of the St. Stephanus Church and carillonneur of its Tower in 1936. Het Vaderland, 22 October 1936, reports: "On the occasion of the 160th anniversary of the organ in the Great (St. Stephanus) Church, a memorial service was held in this building last night, which also had this particular that the newly appointed organist, Mr. Arie Peters, formerly organist of Juliana church in Utrecht, played the organ for the first time in public. This instrument can be counted among the finest church organs in our country..... it was an impressive evening, with great expectations raised by the young, newly appointed organist."
    The Bombing by the Allied Forces on February 22, 1944 devastated church, tower, organ and carillon. The "honorable discharge" as carillonneur - a result of the destruction of the tower - led to diversification in order to surcive as musician. At the end of his career, we see Arie Peters back as carillonneur of the cities of Nijmegen, Haarlem, and Cuijck, and organist of the Great Church in Nijmegen. Furthermore, as choirmaster, music teacher, composer, music critic of the Nijmeegs Dagblad, and as a judge at competitions of music services. Inspired by the latter activity he composed on request (band Koninklijke Luchtmacht, lieut. H.W.F. van Diepenbeek) the " Felicitatiemars", which, among other things, led to the founding of Stichting The Traditie. Said diversification resulted in a same number of sections of the collection.

  • Image left: Arie Peters behind the restored carillon of the Nijmegen St. Stephanus Tower. Watercolor by the Nijmegen graphic artist Jan Rombout (1920-1986). 

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