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North German


Happy New Year, everybody!

Any reactions to Sonus Paradisi's Groningen sample set? Comparisons to Zwolle would be particularly helpful. I presently have Zwolle in Hauptwerk 4 advanced.

Many thanks,

Peter
by Bittern
Jan 1, 2020 02:06 PM

Replies (10)

RE: North German

Bittern wrote:

Happy New Year, everybody!

Any reactions to Sonus Paradisi's Groningen sample set? Comparisons to Zwolle would be particularly helpful. I presently have Zwolle in Hauptwerk 4 advanced.

Many thanks,

Peter

I don't think you can compare these organs.
Sampling technique is different.
Organs are very different.
Zwolle still shows elements of the neo-baroque restoration of the 1950s.
Groningen was masterfully restored.
The acoustics are different.
The history/provenance of these organs differ greatly.

My advice: wait till you hear more Groningen uploads and then compare them to what you hear from the Zwolle organ.

If I had to choose between the two, I would choose the most recent sample set of Groningen.

by adri
Jan 1, 2020 05:24 PM

RE: North German

Thank you, Adri. I very much appreciate your background info, and your perspective. Much to think about!

Kind regards, Peter
by Bittern
Jan 1, 2020 06:29 PM

RE: North German

Bittern wrote:

Happy New Year, everybody!

Any reactions to Sonus Paradisi's Groningen sample set? Comparisons to Zwolle would be particularly helpful. I presently have Zwolle in Hauptwerk 4 advanced.

Many thanks,

Peter

Under Free Stuff at the Sonus Paradisi website, there's a fully functional DEMO set of Groningen - also suitable for HW4 regardless of the commentary provided by SP. The "Download surround" version in FOUR files works faultlessly in HW4 (Windows 10) on my machine. See

http://www.sonusparadisi.cz/en/blog/st-martini-groningen-demo-set/

by jacko
Jan 5, 2020 02:57 PM

RE: North German

jacko wrote:

Under Free Stuff at the Sonus Paradisi website, there's a fully functional DEMO set of Groningen - also suitable for HW4 regardless of the commentary provided by SP. The "Download surround" version in FOUR files works faultlessly in HW4 (Windows 10) on my machine. See

http://www.sonusparadisi.cz/en/blog/st-martini-groningen-demo-set/

Thanks, jacko,

Great information! I’ve purchased HW5, but haven’t installed just yet, fearing teething problems, at first. Great to know that I can sample Groningen on 4.

Kind regards,

Peter

by Bittern
Jan 5, 2020 05:00 PM

RE: North German

That's right, Groningen and Zwolle are quite different.

I just installed Groningen last night, and briefly explored it. I found that it's quite a different instrument from any sample set I've acquired previously.

The production side is impeccable, as can be expected from Sonus Paradisi. Having 4 stereo pairs to play around with gives extraordinary possibilities to create your ideal listening position. I use headphones exclusively, so this must be taken into account as the context for the following observations.

I found there is a surprising feature of its specification - the Bovenwerk resembles a kind of "grand chorus" - along the lines of the bold diapason chorus work which found its way onto the Solo organ of some modern English cathedral and concert organs during the middle and latter parts of the 20th century. The BW chorus is louder than the HW chorus, and the two can be coupled. Also, the BW contains a 16-foot chorus reed - the HW only has one at 8-foot pitch. It would appear, then, that the BW has been conceived as being the "other half" of the HW. The two departments need to be considered together. Cavaille-Coll did something similar at St Sulpice with the Grand-Orgue and Grand-Choer departments.

By contrast, it's not possible to couple the Rugwerk to the other departments. The coupler for the RW actually brings the HW down to it (rather like a "Great to Choir" coupler would do on an English organ). You can add the BW to the HW, and add the HW to the RW, but you can't add the RW to the HW or couple the BW to the RW. In other words, using the organ's native couplers it's not possible to couple all 3 departments together.

The pedal is extensive and complete, but it needs to be as there are no pedal couplers.

Of course, it's possible to use the Hauptwerk master coupler system to add whatever additional couplers you desire, but it's worth taking the organ's original concept into consideration.

There are extensive secondary choruses of flutes and mutations, especially on the RW and HW, though surprisingly no Tierce or Cornet. The RW and BW each has a Sesquialtera, and the HW has a Tertiaan, so these compound stops need to be mixed with other ranks for a cornet effect. The HW has a beautiful quiet unison string - called a Salicet - which is a bit like a Dulciana.

From my first exposure to this organ, it would certainly call for considerable care in registration, not to mention the perspective settings. I found that the more was added of the Diffuse and Rear channels the Pedal increased in volume to the point where it started to lose balance with the manuals.

In conclusion, this is an astoundingly fine addition to the Sonus Paradisi stable. It's in line with Jiri Zurek's uncanny ability to seek out and sample organs which are "special". I believe it will replay close and careful study in terms of registration management.

Andrew
by Andrew Grahame
Jan 10, 2020 05:09 AM

RE: North German

Andrew Grahame wrote:

That's right, Groningen and Zwolle are quite different.

I just installed Groningen last night, and briefly explored it. I found that it's quite a different instrument from any sample set I've acquired previously.

The production side is impeccable, as can be expected from Sonus Paradisi. Having 4 stereo pairs to play around with gives extraordinary possibilities to create your ideal listening position. I use headphones exclusively, so this must be taken into account as the context for the following observations.

I found there is a surprising feature of its specification - the Bovenwerk resembles a kind of "grand chorus" - along the lines of the bold diapason chorus work which found its way onto the Solo organ of some modern English cathedral and concert organs during the middle and latter parts of the 20th century. The BW chorus is louder than the HW chorus, and the two can be coupled. Also, the BW contains a 16-foot chorus reed - the HW only has one at 8-foot pitch. It would appear, then, that the BW has been conceived as being the "other half" of the HW. The two departments need to be considered together. Cavaille-Coll did something similar at St Sulpice with the Grand-Orgue and Grand-Choer departments.

By contrast, it's not possible to couple the Rugwerk to the other departments. The coupler for the RW actually brings the HW down to it (rather like a "Great to Choir" coupler would do on an English organ). You can add the BW to the HW, and add the HW to the RW, but you can't add the RW to the HW or couple the BW to the RW. In other words, using the organ's native couplers it's not possible to couple all 3 departments together.

The pedal is extensive and complete, but it needs to be as there are no pedal couplers.

Of course, it's possible to use the Hauptwerk master coupler system to add whatever additional couplers you desire, but it's worth taking the organ's original concept into consideration.

There are extensive secondary choruses of flutes and mutations, especially on the RW and HW, though surprisingly no Tierce or Cornet. The RW and BW each has a Sesquialtera, and the HW has a Tertiaan, so these compound stops need to be mixed with other ranks for a cornet effect. The HW has a beautiful quiet unison string - called a Salicet - which is a bit like a Dulciana.

From my first exposure to this organ, it would certainly call for considerable care in registration, not to mention the perspective settings. I found that the more was added of the Diffuse and Rear channels the Pedal increased in volume to the point where it started to lose balance with the manuals.

In conclusion, this is an astoundingly fine addition to the Sonus Paradisi stable. It's in line with Jiri Zurek's uncanny ability to seek out and sample organs which are "special". I believe it will replay close and careful study in terms of registration management.

Andrew

You can couple all three manuals together, and play them from the Rugwerk manual.

It is not that advisable to do so, however, for plenum registrations, although some do.

The Bovenwerk sounds loud because it's right under the roof and projects better into the church than the HW.

I agree that the BVW is kind of an extension of the HW, but its Trompet 16' doesn't quite have that bass oomph you get from the same stop on e.g. the Kampen organ.

The "All of Bach" recordings on YouTube give you some idea of how the organ can be used...
I have nearly 25 CDs of this organ, so I know what works.

I still find it hard to find an ideal listening position with my headphones and am still experimenting with the sliders.

I am personally not convinced by the usefulness of the direct samples, and I have decided not to load them. Too dry for my taste. And so unlike the real instrument.

Careful registration is indeed key. The real organ stops seem to blend better than in the sample set is my impression. To which degree this can be achieved can be a topic of nearly endless debate.

Jiri Zurek's "uncanny ability to seek out and select"? Let's put that into perspective. Doesn't that also apply to other sample set makers? To mention just a few: Haarlem, Dudelange, Stade, Waltershausen, Ottobeuren, Weissenau, Ansbach (coming), Salisbury, etc., etc.?

-Adri

by adri
Jan 10, 2020 06:24 AM

RE: North German

Thanks Adri. I'm only encountering this sample set for the very first time - I've not even heard a CD recording of it. I must try that coupling trick. I have set up master couplers, but as a rule I try not to use them on historic sample sets.

I didn't mean to imply that Jiri Zurek is the only sample set producer who is seeking out fine instruments. Quite a few other producers are doing the same.

I've just closed the organ down for the night, after a short time looking for sounds to play BWV 659 (Nun komm, from the Great 18). I ended up with the BW flute 8 plus Nasat coupled to HW Quintadena 8 and flute 4 for RH. It sounded good, both with or without the tremulant. LH was on RW Principal 8 plus flute 4, and pedal was the 16-foot flute plus Principal 8. It all balanced quite nicely.

I agree about the front direct ranks. I plan to mute these in favour of reinstating some sampled tremulant sounds.
by Andrew Grahame
Jan 10, 2020 06:35 AM

RE: North German

Andrew Grahame wrote:

Thanks Adri. I'm only encountering this sample set for the very first time - I've not even heard a CD recording of it. I must try that coupling trick. I have set up master couplers, but as a rule I try not to use them on historic sample sets.

I didn't mean to imply that Jiri Zurek is the only sample set producer who is seeking out fine instruments. Quite a few other producers are doing the same.

I've just closed the organ down for the night, after a short time looking for sounds to play BWV 659 (Nun komm, from the Great 18). I ended up with the BW flute 8 plus Nasat coupled to HW Quintadena 8 and flute 4 for RH. It sounded good, both with or without the tremulant. LH was on RW Principal 8 plus flute 4, and pedal was the 16-foot flute plus Principal 8. It all balanced quite nicely.

I agree about the front direct ranks. I plan to mute these in favour of reinstating some sampled tremulant sounds.

Andrew - do a YouTube search for "Groningen Martini organ" (or replace with the Dutch 'orgel', or a google or YouTube search for "Groningen Sietze de Vries", and you'll find hundreds of video recordings.

Sietze de Vries is the Resident organist at the Martini church (and a highly accomplished artist), and he was also the sampleset assessor/tester for Sonus Paradisi.

by jacko
Jan 10, 2020 06:41 AM

RE: North German

Thanks Jacko - I will do this.
by Andrew Grahame
Jan 10, 2020 06:44 AM

RE: North German

My first YouTube search brought up this wonderful video. It's a 20-minute stop-by-stop demonstration of the Groningen organ.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ3-0cBKh44

This convinces me all the more to shut off the front direct ranks, and to rely more upon the sounds as heard from further away from the organ. The wealth of colour is amazing, as is the way in which so many stops combine so well with each other. However at the end, the player sums it up by saying "there's so much more..... ".
by Andrew Grahame
Jan 10, 2020 07:12 AM

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