Trying out the demo sample set of the Schnitger organ in Groningen | Liardon, Nun komm der Heiden Heiland

As the Schnitger organ of the St Martinikerk in Groningen is one the most beautiful organs in the Netherlands and indeeed in the world, I am understandably interested in the Hauptwerk sample set of this organ that was released last week. The creator of the sample set, Sonus Paradisi, published a demo of this sample set, comprising 10 of the 52 stops of this organ. It is a small selection but it gives nevertheless a very good impression of the sample set as a whole.

The organ was recorded, pipe for pipe, on four different locations in the church. One time very near to the organ,one time a bit further on, a third time again a bit further on, and the fourth time again further on and with the microphones oriented away from the organ. The last recording was done the record the reflections of the organ sound in the church. It can be used to create the impression of the church space in ones home, by playing these samples on speakers located behind ones playing position. In effect, a surround sound.

It is not the first sample set to feature multiple recordings from different locations (though it is the first one as far as I know with four recordings). By mixing in more or less from the distant recordings you can create the effect of listening closer or less closer to the organ. This mixing is, to my ears, never a great succes. Until now that is. In this sample set I do not hear the strange effects I hear in other sample set when mixing recordings from different locations in a church. The samples must have been created with great care, to make this mixing with almost no audible effect possible. Not only is the Schnitger organ of the Martinikerk in Groningen one of the most beautiful organs in the world, this sample set is one of the most beautiful I have ever heard.

The demo of this sample set inspired me to try Gaël Liardon's prelude to "Nun komm der Heiden Heiland" again. I performed it last week on another sample set as a manualiter piece ( It is of course also possible to play the bass line with the pedals, the two middels voices with the left hand, and the choral melody with a solo registration with the right hand. Only in bar 21 the middle voices are a bit too far apart for me and my small hands to play comfortable, so I cheat a bit there to create the illusion that I do play the notes. If you look carefully in the video you can perhaps see what I do.

For this performance I use only three stops. The fine details in the organ sound and the superb sense of the churche's space in the sample set is very well audible in this way. And the principal I use hear as a solo stop is one of the most beautiful I've ever heard.

For completeness sake, the main page on the website of Sonus Paradisi for this sample set is here:, and this demo sample set can be downloaded here:



Comments 5

Indeed this is a famous organ. I downloaded it too and had a bit of a play. I don't have enough RAM to use the surround samples so I wasn't completely satisfied with the sound.

23.12.2019 21:46

A few years ago I build myself a new computer. And I decided to make it Hauptwerk future proof and put in 128 GB of RAM. I've still to encounter the organ that does not fit...

You could try to use the fron distant channel. That is meant for sterao only setups and does not take as much RAM.

24.12.2019 08:41

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26.12.2019 06:35

I love this piece. I recorded it the other day and am about to post it!

26.12.2019 11:58

Looking forward to it

26.12.2019 12:34