A beautiful sampleset of one of the nicest and famous organs of the Netherlands.
The Bovenkerk (St. Nicolaaskerk) in Kampen is a very popular location for choir- and organ recordings.
Although this monumental and celebrated organ has a baroque character, are there also a lot of cd's recorded with a (semi-) romantic repertoire.
The organ is built in the years 1741-1743 by Albertus Anthoni Hinsz (from Groningen).
Hinsz used older pipes from the organ that Johan Slegel builds in 1675 for the Bovenkerk.
This organ contained pipes from Jan van Covelens, who build in 1521-1523 an organ for the Bovenkerk.
In 1786 added the famous organ builders F.C. Schnitger and H.H. Freytag a number of stops.
During the restoration of 1957-1975 the majestic instrument is 'back-restorated' to the situation of the organ in between 1790-1866.
Producer Milan Digital Audio chooses to publish the sampleset of this big organ in 3 parts.
Volume I contains the Hoofdwerk (1676/1743), Bovenwerk II (1825) and a part of the pedal (the characteristic Bazuin 16 is luckily included).
This is real a sampleset when you want to indulge yourself.
All what you play sounds warm and magnificent nice.
Because of the enormous and inimitable acoustics (7 seconds reverb) sounds also music of simple amateur-organists (listen to my examples) quite good.
However this is at the same time a disadvantage: this sampleset is less suitable for practice music learning, small mistakes remains often hidden.
Using this sampleset to prepare you for the Sunday service in the parochial church (with less acoustics) is also not a good idea.
I suspect that this organ is recorded on about the same position as with a cd-recording.
Because of this, the stops mixes very well and it's not possible to hear (with my ears) if you listen to a cd-recording or a Hauptwerk-recording.
Although this organ is recorded a bit on distance, plays it quite direct and you don't feel the distance.
With this sampleset my preference for Wet (inclusive reverb) samplesets becomes confirmed because the reverberation appears again as one of the most important characteristics of a church organ.
Even though this Volume is only a part of the organ (almost half), the 'full organ' sounds yet tremendous.
Also it's possible to create a splendid principal plenum.
It's pleasant that both Trompets sounds different: The Trompet on the Bw is more mild and can be used as replacement of the Dulciaan (which is not available in this Volume). With the nice Faeolet 1 on the Bw you can compose clear registrations. The Tertiaan (in combination with Prestant 8 Octaaf 4 and Quint 3) can be used for a force solo voice.
Lovely sounds the combination of Holpijp 8 and Fluit 4.
Summarizing: On this organ you are not quickly bored (words of my mother after she played delightful about one hour).
When you start, it is a bit hard to read the, anyway very nice and realistic, console display on a relative small 17" screen.
After a couple of hours it was good usable, because of there are now only 2 manuals available.
When in Volume II or III the Borstwerk is added the usage will be a bit more difficult because this stops are in between the stops of the Bovenwerk.
Luckily, Brett Milan will consider to publishing a more pragmatic registration-screen in Volume II.
Volume II will also contain an extended compass for the manuals and pedal, now the highest note is a c'''.
Very handy are the 10 programmable presets. Gladly, I wish knobs to turn on/off (in real-time) the sounds (of keys and wind motor).
Rather as feature of Hauptwerk so it works too for all samplesets.
For this sampleset you need minimal a computer with 3 GB internal memory and, because of the long reverb, a reasonably fast processor.
Unpleasant... After playing a lot of time with this superb sampleset you desire more stops (e.g. the Sexquialter, Vox Humana, Dulciaan), but I think that's the goal of Milan Digital Audio..., they are available in Volume II and III...
Gert, oktober 2008
Mp3 examples of me CAUTION (Volume I):
A lot other examples from this book can you listen at: Marco den Toom.
Mp3 examples of Cor van Dijk (Volume I):
The geneva psalms beside are composed by Cor van Dijk and played by Cor and Wilco van Dijk.
You can found them in the chorale book:
Voor de Opperzangmeester
(346 pages, Euro 59,95).
Each psalm will have a prelude, a chorale, an interlude (modulation) and another chorale, now in a higher key.
Volume II contains:
17 additional stops: Full Rugwerk, Borstwerk, Prestant16 (Hw and Ped) and Trompet16 (Hw).
'Extended' manuals (7 additional notes) and pedal (3 additional notes).
I suspect that nobody will use the standard version; with Volume I quite often I was limited through the 'standard compass'.
Nice when you have touch-sensible-manuals.
10 programmable combination-stops.
Very handy and usable that they are pre-configured with ppp(1)-fff(10).
A changed tremulant of the Bovenwerk.
Now the tremulant is more calm and better usable.
A changed wind model. In Volume I was the wind model good audible and the organ had sometimes too less wind.
In Volume 2, this is different, because you hear the wind model (unfortunately) not nearly.
Fortunately it is easy to change: I changed the Wind model setting in 'Organ / General Settings / Windmodel' to 140% (I made the demo pieces with the default 100% setting).
The Borstwerk consists of three (8, 4 and 2 feet) pretty mild flutes and a Dulciaan, a very good acquisition.
The Dulciaan may very well be used as solo voice with a soft accompaniment.
For example, you can combine the Dulciaan with the addition of the Holpijp of Bovenwerk (listen to example Dick Sanderman/Ps 87 bewerking 1).
The Fluit4 and Woudfluit2 of the Borstwerk sound lovely and intimate.
I had expected the Rugwerk the most direct (close) would sound, but I experience the Borstwerk as the closest (but not the most loud).
Probably the microphones were on the same height as the Borstwerk.
The Rugwerk sounds the hardest (in terms of volume) and more direct (as expected) than the Hoofdwerk.
The GedaktQuint3 is nice to use as a solo voice (in combination with Holpijp8 and possibly Fluit4 and possibly Tremulant).
You can also use the Sexquialter as Cantus Firmus but because that is pretty strong, you need a strong accompaniment.
The button for the Schokbalg is present but has no function.
It is nice to hear that the lowest tones (e.g. c and d) of the Prestant 16 needs about a second before there is a beautiful stable sound, this sounds very realistic.
The sampleset is now 4 keyboards and 41 stops, the registration screen is very realistic (and nice!), but because the stops of Borstwerk and Bovenwerk are together, it is a bit difficult.
Much people prefer a more practical screen (e.g. Zwolle).
I made a picture that displays for each stop the concerned manual.
Anyway, you can recognize the stops of the Bovenwerk by the lines above and below the name.
This sampleset has the most beautiful reverberation of all samplesets that I have.
The reverb does have some noise.
This is not annoying when you don't disable the sound of the organ engine (and church).
Personally, I prefer the background sound anyhow because it increased the realism.
In menu 'Organ / Organ information' you see now only a picture of the front, I wish that Volume III contains additional information and pictures (e.g.: console, interior church and church).
With Volume II, this instrument has high requirements: You need in total minimal 5 GB RAM (about 4 GB + 1 GB for Windows) when you load all stops in 16 bit, single loops and compressed.
I have a 'Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 2.66 GHz, 12 Mb cache processor', for me just enough (because I don't often play virtuoso works).
But for the Toccata from the Suite Gotique with all stops selected my processor is not sufficient.
Because of the high reverberation this sampleset needed a high polyphony.
With nearly E 17, - per stop, this is not a cheap sampleset.
However, it is one of my most used sets because of the nice reverb and wide usable disposition.
I finish this piece on Volume II the same as my story on Volume I: People are not easily satisfied and always want more....when you have Volume II, I'm sure you want Volume III (Bovenwerk 1 with e.g. Roerfluit8, Speelfluit3, Nassat, Vox Humana).
Gert, juni 2009
Mp3 examples of me CAUTION (Volume II):
** For Lubbert de Vries, he mailed me the registration.
Volume III Volume III makes the sampleset complete, it contains:
10 stops of the Bovenwerk including Vox Humana 8, Quintadeen 8, Roerfluit 8, Speelfluit 3, Nassat.
4 stops (Trompet 8', Cornet 4', Roerquint 6', Openfluit 2') in the pedal.
The Vox Humana is also separately sampled with tremulant.
Bovenwerk to Rugwerk coupler (not present in the original organ).
The Vox Humana with tremulant is a real gem, he sings beautifully.
The f1 (f above middle C) sounds delicious (realistic) 'false'.
Nice that there is now a Quintadeen, in such a Baroque organ that really belongs to.
The Fluit 4 is relatively strong (high volume), but that is not annoying, it gives quite a nice effect with the Roerfluit 8.
The new stops in the pedal (Trompet 8 ', Cornet 4' Openfluit 2 ') may well be used as solo.
The Roerquint 6' is a fairly rare stop, I do not understand its function so well, I will not use him often.
If you think the Sesquialter of the Rugwerk is too 'strong', you can alternatively use the combination of Speelfluit 3 en de Nassat 1 1/2 of the Bovenwerk, it sounds somewhat lovelier.
Brett Milan has above review of Volume II probably not read, or at least, nothing attracted:
The menu 'Organ / Organ information' shows also in Volume III only a picture from the front.
I miss information about the organ and pictures of console, interior church and church.
However, there is a clear and beautiful 'user guide', it is unfortunate that it is not available in the menu (eg 'Organ / Organ Information' or in the 'Help' menu).
The whole organ has four manuals, I have three ones.
I have chosen to link the Borstwerk to the same manual as the Rugwerk.
I don't load the key sounds of the Borstwerk, otherwise you have double sounds when pressing a key on the Rugwerk.
For the complete organ you need, in addition to Windows, with the default settings (16 bit, multiple loops, compressed) about 6.9 Gb, which is in practice a computer with 8 GB RAM.
The processor of my computer can not completely handle the full organ (all stops in same time) with Hauptwerk version 3.23. With version 3.30 this problem is almost solved.
A good sampleset of a great organ with fantastic acoustics!
Gert, november 2009
Combination files with example registrations (with thanks to Christian Boogaard):