Sample set Martini organ in Hauptwerk 5

In order to use the sample set of the organ in the Martini Church in Groningen, Hauptwerk 5 must be installed on the organ. The samples were processed directly from the recording for the new system. Jiri Zurek's intention to make the best sample set ever with these samples has made it convincing. There is no sample set which reflects the sounds so true to nature. Organists who know this organ well were surprised that they heard sounds in my living room that corresponded accurately to the sounds in Groningen. With the samples of this set, every organist can now play this magisterial organ at home with the feeling of being in the Martinikerk in Groningen.

Never before there was a Sample Set that could transfer the sounds from the church so naturally to a living room. Jiri Zurek and his employees worked on it for a year. Sietze de Vries, the organist of the Martini Church, listened to each sample and commented where necessary.
From the beginning I have been able to follow the process and now that I hear the end result, I find that a new standard for making samples has been created. Together with the acoustics of the Martini church, which is present as convoluation reverb, this is a copy of the church organ.

Organists who have experienced the test phase were impressed by the beautiful quality that meets high criteria of sound transfer. This sample set surpasses every set that was ever made. The sounds of the pipes in the church with their acoustics are perfectly transferred to the living room and give the feeling to play the organ in the Martini Church.

      Sample sets will have now to meet higher requirements to achieve the same quality

Organ of the Martini Church Groningen
a personal story

Born in Groningen I saw the Martini Tower every day. In the street where I grew up, one of the neighbours attracted my attention: there was a pipe organ in the room. The owner was Cor Edskes who later made the restoration plan for the organ of the Martini church. My interest in building organs started then.

The organ builders had to reinvent their craft in the second half of the last century. No organ builder had any awareness of how a good organ had to be built. It had to be rediscovered by examining the Baroque organs that had been built hundreds of years earlier. Many organs were not eligible because they had been regularly adapted to the taste of time.

The Ommelanden of Groningen and over the border continuously to Ostfriesland formed a favorable exception. In Baroque times the farmers were rich and many donated an organ to the church of their village. Due to the obstinate nature of the Groninger's, they refused to visit a church in another village, so a high concentration of organs were created. After that golden age began a period of sobriety, the wealth had disappeared and the organs fell into decline. Money for maintenance was not there and certainly not for the construction of new organs.

Very young, Cor Edskes began to understand that the decayed organs formed valuable material for his quest for the lost art of organ making. Meticulously he examined every organ and learned from the scales of the pipes the sounds of the baroque. He gained increasing insight and laid the foundation for a responsible way of restoring. The many decayed organs got their baroque sounds back and also the associated way of playing; the area became the name Organ Garden of Europe.

Cor Edskes has published a lot about these organs and eagerly I read every publication in a hunger for knowledge of the original art of organ building. At an organ maker, I learned how to solder pipes out of lead-tin alloy and most importantly, how I could voice these pipes to the desired baroque sound. It is craft that kept fascinated me.. For decades I have voiced pipes and both in the Netherlands and in Germany I gave my knowledge and experience to organ builders.

Jürgen Ahrend in Leer, Germany had as an organ builder the same interest in the organ construction from baroque times as Cor Edskes and he was like no other able to recognize the old sounds and gave it back to the pipes. Together they have been able to restore many historical organs. Several times I visited Jürgen Ahrend's workshop and I learned from him the art of refined voicing. His advice was extremely valuable to me.

The highlight of the art of restoration has reached these two organ experts with the main organ of the Martinikerk in Groningen. In two periods (1976 and 1984), the organ recovered its special sound colors. It was a great achievement that attracted attention far beyond Europe.

From many countries, the organ lovers went to Groningen to hear this magnificent organ and it was called to be the most beautiful organ in the world. That is an arbitrary judgment, organs differ from each other and each organist judges according to its own preference. But with this organ there are a striking number of organists who hear the sounds of their preference.
                                                    Schnitger Orgel Groningen

Sample set of Sonus Paradisi

Jiri Zurek has captured the sounds of this organ in a sample set. He says about it:

"After a year of development, the St. Martini sample set is ready for you. I gave all my skills to this sample set, since I want it to be the best sample set of all times. There is a good reason for that: the organ of Groningen is deemed by many as the organ no. 1 in the entire world.
While sampling the organ for Sonus Paradisi, I was asking myself why is that, is it only a good marketing of the Groningen administration, or is there some ground for considering St. Martini to be the best organ in the world?

Well, I can say with certainty, that I have never heard an organ speaking in such a relaxed way. And you can feel as if the pipes rejoiced under your fingers. Of course a subjective feeling, but I knew with great certainty, this is the best voiced organ ever. And the way it fits the sound into the acoustics of the gothic Church is exceptional.

Since everyone has different ears, and different needs, I have used multichannel recording massively this time. As the result, my testers have helped to choose the channels for the finale release.
The new Hauptwerk 5 offers all possibilities for this. Together with my testers I chose the channels for the final release".

                                                                                       Jiri Zurek