Olivier Messiaen, Complete Organ Works (8 CD's)
Remastered edition, issued by Brilliant Classics 
in over 40 countries

''This new set by Willem Tanke is most certainly Messiaenic heaven to me, and has placed the music far closer to my heart than any of the previous sets. This recent release is as close to perfect as I think I will find'    (Simon Fitzgerald, The Organ)

'This stunning new recording is sure to cause great excitement. Incredible as it may seem there were only 3 edits in the entire performance! This is playing of an exceptional standard'  (Cathedral Classical)

With virtuoso lightness, unfailing timing and inexhaustible wealth of colours, Tanke opens up Messiaen's heaven...his interpretations touch the heart through the organist's peace of mind and sensitivity...this collection is a milestone in the Messiaen discography and a great moment in his organ music' (Miquel Cabruja,

'Willem Tanke's Messiaenproject is een huzarenstuk... wat bij Messiaen inhoudt dat je niet alleen groots moet kunnen uitpakken, maar ook de innerlijke rust moet hebben om de lange, verstilde lijnen tot hun recht te laten komen. Tanke toont zich daarin een meester'  (Hans Heg, de Volkskrant)


 Olivier Messiaen, Organ Works (2DVDs)

DVD1 : Livre d'orgue (complete)
DVD2 : Adoro te (from: Livre du Saint Sacrement), Entrée (from: Messe de la Pentecôte), Méditation 2 and 3 (from: Méditations sur le mystère de la Sainte-Trinité), La Résurrection du Christ (from: Livre du Saint Sacrement), Le Verbe (second part, from: La Nativité du Seigneur), Les deux murailles d'eau (from: Livre du Saint Sacrement)            
Bonus tracks: Willem Tanke counting aloud: Pièce en trio, Soixante-quatre durées and Entrée

 Ton Bruynel, Looking Ears Complete (6 CD's) 

Complete compositions, including Reliëf, Arc, Dust and Kolom for organ and soundtracks 

 Max Reger: Variations and Fugue F sharp minor op. 73

Willem Tanke: Two wind fantasies (SACD)


TANKE: Wind-Fantasies 1+2
REGER: Variations & Fugue on an Original Theme, op 73
Willem Tanke, org – Cybele 60302 – 72 minutes

  Willem Tanke (b 1959) plays his First Wind-Fantasy on the 3-manual, 31-stop Marcussen organ form 1959 in St Lawrence's Church in Rotterdam and his Second Wind-Fantasy on the 4-manual, 86-stop Marcussen from 1973 in the same church. Both organs are very fine and are heard well in this program. 
   The form of both pieces is similar, though they seem quite idiomatic to the instruments they are played on. At the core of both is the organ's unique capacity among musical instruments to sustain a tone indefinitely. Tanke builds tone clusters over which he exposes and develops rhythmic and melodic motives. He explores the tonal resources of the two instruments in both the textures of the tone clusters and the stops he uses for the motivic development. An example is the use of the attack noise or “chiff” of a high-pitched pipe as a marimba-like percussive effect. This then is developed by playing the same sound while sustaining a tone at the same pitch, thus creating a warbling effect in the rhythm.
   Tanke has one of the most interesting musical minds I have encountered in some time. He performs his pieces with the verve and panache they deserve. This is a very important release.
   Also on the program is Reger's Variations and Fugue on an Original Theme. This piece consists of an introduction, theme exposition, 13 variations, and a fugue. Reger possessed consumate compositional skill and here he seems to have determined to show that he could flog every last bit out of the essence of his theme. Has this piece been composed before electrically produced wind was introduced for organs Reger would certainly have been forced to edit for the sake of the overworked bellowsmen. Tanke plays this piece splendidly on the 4-manual, 81-stop Edema organ in St Bavo's Church in Haarlem. 


  Willem Tanke, Imaginary day

All Music Guide (USA), by Blair Sanderson

Even though Willem Tanke's Imaginary Day : 21 Fantasies for organ  (1996-2001) is a collection of diverse pieces largely based on his improvisations over the years,  it has more of a consciously composed and structured feeling than might be expected of such spontaneous inventions. Tanke's compositional methods may be casual, or at least start out that way, but his organisation of these lively miniatures into three suites --corresponding to early morning, afternoon and night -- and his division of each suite into seven sections suggest some kind of coherent scheme; no matter how lightly or frivolously the music comes across, it seems to have balanced proportions. And while Tanke is plainly eclectic in his selection of organ styles and techniques, there is a peculiar unity in the whole work that takes its character from the blending of serious and comic, as well as traditional and avant-garde elements. If the moods range from medieval solemnity to modern quirkiness and veer suddenly from the quaintly evocative to outright violence, the whole set nonetheless feels all of a piece in its personal qualities: Tanke's music feels true to his varied interests, and his witty performances speak directly of his inquiring mind and imaginative music-making. The organs of four churches -- St. Antoine in Vouzières, the Domkerk in Utrecht, Stevenskerk in Nijmegen, and St. Willibrorduskerk in Berkel-Enschot -- contribute to the recordings exceptional variety and interesting registration choices, though Cybele's engineering is remarkably consistent and balanced for the four recording dates and locations.  

„...Mehr als nur Differenzen im Personalstil liegen zwischen den unterschiedlich streng organisierten Stücken Zachers und denen des dreißig Jahre jüngeren Niederländers Willem Tanke, geboren 1959. Es ist eine neue Zeit, die hier ihre organistische Sprache findet, weniger radikal, pragmatisch, polyglott, verspielt. Tanke hat einundzwanzig relativ kurze Stücke zu einem dreiteiligen Zyklus zusammengestellt, den er „Imaginary Day“ nennt. Die Titel – „Call of the Trumpet“, „Yehowah Kpo Kpo“, „Come and dream“, „Breakwave“ – verraten, daß Welten zwischen Zacher und Tanke liegen. Willem Tanke hat, als hochvirtuoser Interpret seiner eigenen Werke, eine Vorliebe für vertrackte und effektvolle Rhythmen, die teils von afrikanischer Musik inspiriert worden sind. In der Mehrzahl seiner Stücke wird eine Hauptstimme von solcherlei Rhythmen begleitet. Tanke weiß nicht nur den vier Instrumenten aus dem achtzehnten und neunzehnten Jahrhundert, die er benutzt die merkwürdigsten Farben zu entlocken, er reichert diese auch noch um Orgelfremdes an: Klänge von als Schlagzeug behandelten Wein- und Limonadenflaschen, Trommel, Fahrradhupe. Tönende Kalauer kommen dabei zum Glück nicht heraus, aber das Augenzwinkern ist unverkennbar. Die Textur der kleinen Stücke ist luftig, Willem Tankes Musik ist Lichtjahre von jener Behäbigkeit entfernt, die Unkundige mit dem Instrument Orgel in Verbindung zu bringen pflegen. Tanke hat die Orgelmusik fürs Crossover geöffnet...“
(Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – „Schallplatten und Phono“ vom 12. November 2005)

Willem Tanke, Meditations for a lent (SACD)

AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, November/December 2007

I reviewed two fantasies by Willem Tanke (b1959) in the March/April issue of 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 if 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 of 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 at 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 heading in the 21st Century. If that be so, I am excited about where it is going. 

Willem Tanke - My friend the Indian and other pieces

A fascinating collection of improvisations by Tanke, recorded on three different organs... There is a great deal of colour & atmosphere in these improvisations, & this CD can be recommended to those who'd enjoy something off the beaten track!'
(Christopher Nicholls, The Organ)

 Vidna Obmana+WillemTanke

Variations for organ, keyboard and processors:

The result is a hauntingly beautiful record that creeps upon you and passes out into the universe. A truly great record.
(Jonas Kellagher, Fluxeuropa)