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Adri's positive take on the Freiberg sample set

Existing and forthcoming Hauptwerk instruments, recommendations, ...

Adri's positive take on the Freiberg sample set

Postby adri » Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:45 pm

Dear fellow Hauptwerk users:

When I heard about the Freiberg organ, I was naturally deeply interested and excited about the prospect of this sample set coming out. Jiri had, for me at least, finally chosen an organ that truly got my imaginations flowing.

Hence, I posted all kinds of information about the organ. Here was a pipe dream almost becoming true: a significant historical organ, with three desirable 16' stops in the manuals, including a reed, an 8' principal and good plenum on the second manual, a 32' gravissimo subbas in the pedal, two (!) quintadena stops, two tierces, two 2-2/3' stops, a viola di gamba, two cornets decomposé, and even a Cornett, plus a nice reed on the 2nd manual; in short: a well disposed organ with lots of registration possibilities suitable for equally lots of suitable music, including and especially J.S. Bach. This organ has 32 stops on 2-manuals/ped. That's fantastic.

When, however, I listened to the early musical demos posted on Jiri's website, I was deeply concerned, as the bad metallic effects of only 2, instead of the now usual at least 3 samples per note was clearly audible.

I felt that Jiri had missed the chance to turn this great historic organ into something great, by shortcutting on the samples per note. I knew that if this was not changed, I would not buy the set. It bothered me a lot. An evaporated dream?

So, when Jiri told us that he went back to Freiberg and recorded yet another set of (short) releases to add to the set, I was happy and thought to myself: this organ may yet turn out to be a great sample set. So I waited.

When Jiri made the demo CD available, I ordered it right away, having nothing to loose. He graciously sent it to me free of charge. The sample demos with only a few stops (I hope next time he will demo like Brett did with Kampen) convinced me sufficiently that this set was not only technically good and musically satisfying, but I also didn't hear any more of those metallic sounds on fast notes, staccatos, etc. All seemed to be well.

Thus, after playing the demo to death, I was ready to order, which I did. My choice was the wet direct/diffuse set, which I felt was musically the best choice and also the "best bang for the buck", to use an American colloquial expression, as you receive two different sets for the price of one.

Yesterday, the 2 sample sets arrived, and I only had time to install the Wet Diffuse set (went flawlessly from 2DVDs per set), which I liked best from the demo, and then started testing it out. That was around 4pm. After a brief intermission (I had to play a real [but not nearly as nice] pipe organ in church and was away for about 2-1/2 hours), I came back to the virtual organ and played my heart out well into the wee hours of the morning (1:30AM!), trying out all kinds of registrations, works by Bach and others, and simply loving it. Endless registration possibilities.

I think you will not be disappointed by this set. If you like Bach, this is a no-brainer. In the price comparison department, it's quite a steal (remember you get two sets if you order the wet organ) and I wholeheartedly endorse this sample set, even though I may have been critical of Jiri's work and choices of organs in the past (esp. Zwolle).

This great organ by Silbermann is not only a winner as far as historical organs are concerned, but is also a winner as a sample set.

And, as far as sample sets are concerned, different sample set producers use different approaches. This is not a bad thing. Creativity and inventiveness an even competition can be and often is good, even if sample set producers don't necessarily always see eye to eye on matters of sampling, virtual console layout, choice of organs, extensions offered, etc.

Now, some of you may ask: Well, Adri, we know that you are critical, outspoken and a purist, so don't you have anything negative to say about the Freiberg set?

Not so far; also too early to tell. It just sounds good, and is musically pleasing. Perhaps I will stumble upon a badly sampled pipe here and there, but there is no sample set, even those costing far more in comparison, that are perfect either. My Metz has issues and so does my Vollenhove, even though they are generally hailed as excellent sets.

I only find the two Trompete stops (HW and PED) a bit too loud and blaring. Not sure if that is caused by either personal dislike, insufficient restoration of these stops, or my ignorance of Silbermann trumpet sound.
I need to find out more, and of course, I have the option of "revoicing" them (i.e. toning them down).

Offering an organ in 4 modes (dry, wet direct, wet diffuse and surround) may seem like overkill to some (it kind of does to me), but to others it is a welcome innovation. I personally felt from the demo that the wet surroudn version of this set sounded less transparent, but I can't judge for real as I don't have the full set). I am not so much in favor of dry sets to which people add whatever reverb they like as it divorces an organ from its original voicing per room. It kind of goes against my purism, i guess.

Jiri's virtual consoles are less authentic than e.g. OAM's and Brett's, but I guess for touch screen monitors a lot better to hit correctly, as the diffrent colored stop labels (helpful!) are much larger. I find it also easier to use with a mouse. I think this approach is more user friendly, although I also love the authentic look of other sets. There are arguments for both approaches, and luckily doesn't affect playing! -:)

So, I feel that we have a winner here, and the future of Hauptwerk as far as future planned sample sets by different sample set producers looks very interesting indeed. Let's encourage the sample set producers to give us the best technology and sampling methodologies for the lowest possible prices!

But one thing is clear: we must find a way to grow the HW community, otherwise, especially in this slow economy, things will be difficult for all of us. I am in the process of drafting a proposal on this issue and will post on the Forum soon in a separate posting.

The end
(sorry it was a long one).


P.S. look for registration demo samples on contrebombarde concert hall of this Freiberg set soon.


(now really the end?)
(no, time to make and post those samples!)
(more work? Oh no!)
(Do the dishes? Take out the trash? Do the laundry? Vacuum? OK, OK, OK! Stay tuned; no time to play right now, wife is out of town and I have to do it all). :-)
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Postby imcg110 » Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:27 pm

Thanks adri - always nice to hear feedback from the discerning user. I look forward to the samples. The set pieces on the producers pages are fine, but there is nothing like a bit of improv around the stops to get a real feel for the organ.
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Postby micdev » Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:59 pm

Adri,

Being a real "amateur" and far from having your experience, talent and knowledge, I didn't post my comments about this sample set.

Being I guess one of the first to order it (a few minutes after I received Jiri's email) I truly loved this sample set. Just like you I ordred the wet one; a few days later I ordered the surround pack after reading Gert review of this sample set and loved it even more.

I also have the dry one and hope to have the time to experiment a bit with it during the christmas vacations, and hope not to be to shy to post my comment....

So I guess that my "amateur" feelings were right and I'm happy to read that someone like you like it a lot...

François
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Postby Fazioli » Thu Dec 18, 2008 3:49 pm

I love this set too, it's the best sample-set I own right now. And even better, I get it for free! It really sound so much better now compared to the first demo's. Didn't try the surround version yet but I heard it's the best surround set so far.

Gr. Roland
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Postby www.orgeljournal.de » Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:45 pm

@ adri

Thanks for this posting!

I’ve tested this set simply for a few minutes at another organ. It’s too early for me to say more about this, but in some aspects I was really surprised. Now I’m thinking to buy this set …

(The compass up to f is also an argument.)

What is your impression about the releases?

I guess the criticism – here and there (unmeant?) – was very innovative.


Perhaps I will stumble upon a badly sampled pipe here and there, but there is no sample set, even those costing far more in comparison, that are perfect either. My Metz has issues and so does my Vollenhove, even though they are generally hailed as excellent sets.


Indeed.


Best regards,
Matthias

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Postby adri » Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:31 am

A few samples are coming now:


http://www.contrebombarde.com/concerthall/music/572

http://www.contrebombarde.com/concerthall/music/571


I am working on getting over my silly nerves. There is no reason, and yet, I can't quite help it. Any advice on how to get over one's self consciousness in too much doses?
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Postby Gert » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:40 am

Hi Adri,
Any advice on how to get over one's self consciousness in too much doses


A bit ‘off topic Freiberg’, but consider:
- God gave every person his own talents/gifts.
- You are not the worst player, you know that I'm worse, but I know: most people on the world can play even worse.
- It is not a match/competition.
- The music is 'free', every one is free to listen and free to ignore.
- Other people like it when you upload your recordings; it helps them to choose the right suitable sample set.

Just yesterday, I put on my site ( http://www.pcorgan.com/LetOp.html ) an explanation (now only in Dutch, this afternoon also in English) why people should not listen to mp3 on PCorgan.com.

Best regards and thanks for posting your uploads and remarks,
Gert
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Postby Eric Sagmuller » Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:00 am

Wow, I just love that first piece Adri. Also the organ sounds absolutely wonderful. The piece reminds me of Albinoni, Adagio in Sol minore. I have that piece, absolutely lovely too. I need to get the piece you played.

Eric
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Postby www.orgeljournal.de » Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:18 am

@ adri

Thanks for the interesting demos!

On more time: What is your impression about the (new) releases – in particular their interaction (portato/staccato)?

It's the problem of many sets. I guess you are an owner of good ears! Some demos concerning this matter would be a good act of hauptwerkian friendchip ...

adri wrote:I only find the two Trompete stops (HW and PED) a bit too loud and blaring. Not sure if that is caused by either personal dislike, insufficient restoration of these stops, or my ignorance of Silbermann trumpet sound.
I need to find out more, and of course, I have the option of "revoicing" them (i.e. toning them down).


Comparing various own CDs it seems to be the case that the reeds of the real Silbermann organ are very(!) dominant.

Some online demos are here – in less quality, not much indeed, but more than nothing:

http://www.die-orgelseite.de/cdshop/MOT_12081.htm (1994)

http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/ ... sk=hitlist (2007)



Best regards,
Matthias


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Postby adri » Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:58 am

More demos are and will be posted.

As far as the staccato releases are concerned: there are of course ways to test it well beyond what is to be considered reasonable or normal on a real pipe organ.

E.g. if I have the Faghott 16' on with other higher stops, and then I play very fast staccatos, I can't hear the Faghott 16' anymore. Is that a fault of the sample set? No, not at all, because such a reed in real life wouldn't respond either, as this is a slower speech reed and you can't expect it to speak on a ridiculously fast repeat. If naturally slow pipes suddenly would speak extremely quick in a sample set, I'm not sure that set would still sound natural, it may sound kind of weird and aggressive.

In other words: whatever can be reasonably expected in real life should be the standard applied to a virtual sample set as well. In other words: larger pipes, lower pitches always speak/react slower than higher pitches/smaller pipes. It's the same with sample sets. Based on these natural likeness criteria one should test a sample set, and not expect more. Once I do this, I can say that I sense that the Freiberg set seems to behave pretty much like a normal organ. But no sample set can ever approach real life; and I will never forget that, and never expect it.

Furthermore, living in the USA, I don't have the windmodel of HW, alas, which may have some effect as well on staccatos? Not sure, since I can't test that. May be someone can tell us about that. At any rate, it's very hard to accurately model the natural behavior of a pipe. I'm actually surprised that our good virtual organs sound as good as they do; and this shows the real genius of Martin Dyde.

He deserves the gold medal if there was one for this kind of product.
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Postby adri » Fri Dec 19, 2008 11:07 am

Eric Sagmuller wrote:Wow, I just love that first piece Adri. Also the organ sounds absolutely wonderful. The piece reminds me of Albinoni, Adagio in Sol minore. I have that piece, absolutely lovely too. I need to get the piece you played.

Eric


To fulfill "I need to get the piece you played", just transcribe the improvisation I played and you are all set. Lol. Thanks for the kind comments, but compositionally, it does have its flaws. I want to do it again, but a bit more prepared.

I am just throwing a lot of demos together quickly to show this organ, since I endorsed it.
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Postby Grant_Youngman » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:48 pm

adri wrote: Any advice on how to get over one's self consciousness in too much doses?


Drink heavily. It won't help your playing, but will certainly get rid of the stage fright :)
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Postby adri » Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:14 am

Grant_Youngman wrote:
adri wrote: Any advice on how to get over one's self consciousness in too much doses?


Drink heavily. It won't help your playing, but will certainly get rid of the stage fright :)


Too bad I can't drink as alcohol makes my heart race; can you recommend any non alcoholic miracle drinks? :-)
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Postby Johannes Sørensen » Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:54 am

Thanks for your review. Have the dry version and really like it.

Maybe a little OT:

“can you recommend any non alcoholic miracle drinks?”

The best I can think of, that lives up to your request, is Camomile Tea.
Hope you like the taste.

Best regards
Johannes
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Postby adri » Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:06 am

Johannes Sørensen wrote:Thanks for your review. Have the dry version and really like it.

Maybe a little OT:

“can you recommend any non alcoholic miracle drinks?”

The best I can think of, that lives up to your request, is Camomile Tea.
Hope you like the taste.

Best regards
Johannes


-Dry organ: I hope you run it wet to make it come alive;
-Camomile tea: actually, funnily, of all the herbal teas, this is the one I dislike the most, and doesn't it make you sleepy?


Anyway, practice, practice, practice is still the only miracle answer, I guess.
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