Willem Tanke is mainly known for his 8 CDs with the complete organ works by Olivier Messiaen. Recorded on six evenings in 1994 and with only two edits, these have been critically acclaimed for virtuosity and emotional impact. 



Willem Tanke's ideal of playing keyboard instruments is based on observations by contemporaries of J.S. Bach about his organ playing, from which it appears that he achieved a huge expression with very small movements of hand and feet only.



His Bach interpretation is rooted in the historically informed performance practice:


In 2018 Willem Tanke made high resolution audio recordings of Bach's trio sonatas BWV 525 - 530 that are particularly cheerful, elegant and expressive.


Regarding the music of Bach and Messiaen music as a continuous journey, Tanke feels like coming home when playing Max Reger. His interpretation of Reger's magnificent and monumental Variationen und Fuge über ein Originalthema Op. 73 (issued on SuperAudio CD) and Fantasie und Fuge Op. 135b is of true grandeur:
As a composer and an improviser Willem Tanke has been developing an original and innovative language since the late '70s.  Ralph Blakely wrote about the SuperAudio CD Meditations for a lent "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."


Tanke documents his expertise on a separate website including an educational section: