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

Books about Hauptwerk

The User Guide is the instruction manual of Hauptwerk, which was written by the program designer. The English language is not the problem that it is difficult to understand, but the meaning of the many strange terms. When I bought a Hauptwerk organ eight years ago, I tried to apply my experience in building pipe organs to the sounds of this organ. Since I have an absolute hearing plus great experience in voicing pipes, I heard that the sounds did not match the sounds of my pipe organ. Experimenting with instructions from the User Guide was my way of understanding Hauptwerk's technique. But how I could improve the representation of the sounds from the samples (voicing) is not written in the user guide. It only says where the voicing screens can be reached. How to set it up the organist may discover himself. The designer of Hauptwerk is not a voicer, but a supplier of a well-functioning technical system.

About the construction of pipe organs I had written a dozen books, so I wanted to share my knowledge of Hauptwerk also with all those who were interested in the possibilities of his Hauptwerk organ. I wrote about my experiences on my website, but then I have decided to write it into a book. In 2013 I wrote the Hauptwerk Practical Guide in Dutch, German and English and sent it to each applicant for free as an e-book.
I have described the technique of using Hauptwerk, but since an organ the sounds are important, most of it is dedicated to the voicing of the samples. The real pipe sound does not depend on the technique of Hauptwerk, but on the artistic feeling of the creator of the samples. Each register has its own character and the sample creator must recognize this and then store it perfectly in the samples. Unfortunately, there are only a few sample creators who can do that.                See the best sample sets

In December 2019, Hauptwerk 4 was replaced by Hauptwerk 5. The biggest improvement was the convolution reverb I asked Brett Milan a few years ago. At the time, he refused, but now it is included in the new version of Hauptwerk. Three years ago Evert-Jan van de Leij wrote the book Hauptwerk in de Praktijk (Nld). With his great knowledge of hauptwerk's technology, it became a perfect representation of what the designer should have written in the User Guide. His book is not a translation of this book, but a description of the practical applications and those in a language that everyone can easily understand.

The first book was converted by Evert-Jan into Hauptwerk in de praktijk V (Nld). He has given a lot of attention to the many audio channels and how they should be distributed. Despite the Dutch language, the book is for an Englishman to understand by the many images of the screens, which do not depend on the language.

My new book Sounds of Hauptwerk shows how to voice the samples in such a way that the sounds are no different from the typical sounds of pipes. The reactions to my earlier books showed that my method of teaching voicing was well understood by many organists. Each tone of the pipe begins with an unmistakable articulation and then builds up to the full sound. For an organist it is important that this is audible, because with it he (she) sets the accents of the music.
The convolution reverb is a copy of the church's acoustics that makes sounds realistic like sounds of a church organ. In hundreds of churches I have played the organ and just now I feel like I am playing at home on the organ in the church.     Sounds of Hauptwerk

The book by Evert-Jan van der Leij is a perfect description of the necessary technique and my book describes how sounds from the samples can sound like sounds of the pipes.
To understand Hauptwerk, both books are needed.

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 neighbors attracted my attention because 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.

In the second half of the last century, the organ builders realized that they had to rediscover their craft. Music composed in centuries only came into its own when it was played on an ancient organ. In the Baroque era, the farmers in the Ommelanden of Groningen were rich and they gave an organ to the church of their village and thus a high concentration of baroque organs was born. After that golden age began a period of sobriety, the wealth was gone and the organs fell into disrepair.

Very young, Cor Edskes began to understand that these decayed organs were valuable material for his quest for the lost art of organ making. Meticulously, he examined each organ and learned the sounds of the Baroque from the measures of the pipes. In this way he gained more and more insight and laid the foundations for a responsible way of restoration.
Cor Edskes has published a lot about this and I eagerly read every publication to get to know the original art of organ making.

From an organ builder I learned how to solder pipes from lead-tin alloy and how to voice these pipes until I could hear the sound I want. Voicing is a craft that makes me more and more fascinated and I took lessons with the best voicers. For decades I have instructed pipe voicing and in both the Netherlands and In Germany I have passed on my knowledge and experience to organ builders.

Jürgen Ahrend in Leer, Germany, is an organ builder with the same interest in baroque-era organ construction as Cor Edskes and he was like no other able to recognize the old sounds and return them to the pipes. Together they have been able to restore many historical organs. Several times I have visited Jürgen Ahrend's workshop and learned what the art is of very sophisticated voicing.

                                           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           
 book Martini
   Hauptwerk book