Willem Tanke is a prominent interpreter of organ works by Olivier Messiaen and Max Reger: 


His Bach interpretation brings lightness and elegance into organ art: 

As an improviser and a performing composer Willem Tanke creates a new musical language which brings together musicians with avant-jazz, avant-pop, Western classical and traditional African and Asian backgrounds.

 In a review on his CD Meditations for a lent  for American Record Guide, Ralph Blakely wrote: 


"I reviewed two fantasies by Willem Tanke (b1959) in the March/April issue this year. I found Tanke one of the most fascinating composers I had encountered.

Now, this work confirms and augments  that judgement. This series of meditations is the product of a research project he called The Art of Doing Nothing.

From his description, his practice of doing nothing is similar to the leisure or rest described by Rollo May that follows intense study and preparation and

from which emerges significant creative achievement. Tanke has clearly studied music in close detail from every period in the past. While the

influences of Messiaen and Ligeti in his music are clear, so are those of Josquin and Mozart.

 Tanke performs his piece on the 2-manual, 12-stop organ built in 1880 by FB Loret in St Willibrord’s Church in the town of Berkel-Enschot in the Brabant

region of Holland. It is small and intimate, exactly suited for his purpose. He approaches the organ as it for the first time, exploiting its unique ability to

sustain sounds indefinitely and the sounds made when wind pressure decreases, either owing to slowly closing stops or turning off the blower while

the instrument is sounding. 

 An exposition of thematic material is followed by development in many ways, some with ancient precedent, others

quite novel. He adds the sounds made by an Indian woodblock and a bell of the sort carried by griots, as story-tellers are known in west Africa.

The work is almost Beethovenian in its originality. However, ingenuity does not make art; it is the remarkable beauty of this work that does.

 This recording will be a the top of my critic’s-choice list for the year. I believe it may be the most important recording I’ve reviewed for ARG.

Tanke wrote that he intended to explore the direction music is headed in the 21st Century. If that be so, I am excited about where it is going."