Sample set Sonus Paradisi - Rotterdam Hoofdorgel Main organ - Surround +Dry

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The organ of the Laurenskerk in Rotterdam, Netherlands

The large gothic church of Rotterdam was built in 15th century. The church was completed in 1525. Four hundred years later it was almost destroyed by a German bombardment in May of the year 1940. The interior of the sanctuary was entirely lost due to fire. There were left only the outer walls and a part of the tower. The restoration of the church was done after the World War, between 1947-1968.

The original church had a large 3 manual organ of Hans Goltfuss from 1644, but a new instrument was to replace it in 1790. The work on the new instrument was not finished before 1828 while several organbuilders successively worked on it. In 1845 Bätz enlarged this instrument to arrive at 72 stops. Nevertheless, this instrument was destroyed completely with the church during the war time. The large organ which we can hear in the church today was built by Marcussen & Son in 1973, the organ case was designed by the architect J. W. Besemer. The instrument is based on 32-foot pedal, it consists of six divisions (Rugwerk, Hoofdwerk, Bovenwerk, Borstwerk, Chamadewerk and Pedaal). It is completely mechanical organ with 85 speaking stops and ca. 7600 pipes. It is said to be the largest purely mechanical organ in Europe. There is, however, the Barker mechanism to be switched on optionally by a foot lever to help the organist when all the manuals are coupled together. However, the full instrument can be operated without this device very well.

One striking feature of the instrument is its multi-rank Principal stops. Practically all the Principals and Octaves 16', 8', 4' of all the divisions are made of more than one unisono souding ranks. I have heard this special feature in Spanish organs for the first time (Palma di Mallorca, Santanyi ...) and it makes the sound of the Principal chorus considerably wide and deep. The timbre gets characteristically rich what cannot be achieved easily if a conventional single rank Principal stops are used. For Hauptwerk recording, this constitutes a special challenge, since the "chorus effect" of the pipes which are often not exactly in tune makes looping really difficult. Only very long samples (around 9-11 seconds) are usable for the virtual model of the organ. Another noteworthy feature is the composition of the mixtures which have unusually high number of ranks as well. The Cimbal of the Bovenwerk is remarkable for its neo-baroque composition including a quart and a sext.

A beta tester comments: "This is a remarkably colorful and beautiful organ whose sound is surprisingly gentle. None of the voicing feels harsh or pushed. Instead, we get double-rank principal stops and large mixtures with many ranks of gently-voiced pipework that result in a natural, unforced sound. In fuller ensembles, the organ roars, but it never screams - even when the chamades are playing. The sound remains beautiful and comfortable even when played for several hours in headphones."

The organ was designed to allow the performance of all organ literature. Indeed, the plenitude of stops, the complete set of horizontal reeds, the French type of reeds, strings in a swell box, rich selection of wide scaled mutations, complete Principal pyramid, full range of stops in pedal - it is all one can dream of. First, I was puzzled by the absense of the French Oboe and I had even thought of adding one virtually, but then, listening to the CDs recorded at the Rotterdam organ by Mr. Hayo Boerema organist-titulaire, convinced me that  that such an addition is not needed. The swell trumpet with a nasard can be used as a convincing substitute. Thus, wide range or organ literature from Renaissance, Baroque, Romanticism up to the modern times can be performed adequately on the instrument.


man I.Hoofdwerk
man. II Bovenwerk (swell)
man. III.Borstwerk
man. IV.Chamadewerk
III. man.Pedaal

Quintadeen 16'Praestant 16'Gedekt 16'Gedekt 8'Trompeta magna 16' (desc.)Praestant 32'

Praestant 8'Octaaf 8'Praestant 8'Praestant 4'Trompeta brillante 8' (bas/desc.)Octaaf 16'

Holpijp 8'Open fluit 8'Baarpijp 8'Blokfluit 4'Trompeta de batalla 8' (bas/desc.)Open Subbas 16'

Quintadeen 8'Quint 5 1/3'Roerfluit 8'Nasard 2 2/3'Clarin fuerte 4' (bas/desc.)Gedekte Quint 10 2/3'

Octaaf 4'Octaaf 4'Viola di Gamba 8'Octaaf 2'Clarin 2' (bas)Octaaf 8'

Roerfluit 4'Spitsfluit 4'Viola di Gamba 8' (beating)Gedekte fluit 2'Orlos 8' (bas/desc.)Gemshoorn 8'

Quint 2 2/3'Octaaf 2'Octaaf 4'Octaaf 1' Roerquint 5 1/3'

Octaaf 2'Ruispijp 3-4 st.Open fluit 4'Tertiaan 2 st. Octaaf 4'

Woudfluit 2'Mixtuur 8-10 st.Terts 3 1/5'Scherp 4-5 st. Koppelfluit 4'

Sifflet 1 1/3'Scherp 6-8 st.Roerquint 2 2/3'Regaal 16' Nachthoorn 2'

Sesquialter 2-4 st.Trompet 16'Nachthoorn 2'Kromhoorn 8' Dwarsfluit 1'

Mixtuur 6-8 st.Trompet 8'Terts 1 3/5'Regaal 8' Ruispijp 5 st.

Scherp 4-6 st.Cornet 5 st.Mixtuur 5-7 st.  Cornet 3 st.

Dulciaan 16' Cimbel 3 st.Tremulant Mixtuur 10 st.

Trompet 8' Bombarde 16'  Bazuin 32'

Kromhoorn 8' Trompette 8'  Bazuin 16'

  Voix humaine 8'  Fagot 16'

Tremulant Clairon 4'  Trompet 8'

  Tremulant  Trompet 4'

     Zink 2'



Normal intramanual couplers (I - II, III - II, IV - II) available, couplers to the pedal (I - Ped, II - Ped, III - Ped) available. Bovenwerk can be muted by drawing the Bovenwerk af drawstop.

The Chamadewerk is normally operated from the IIIrd manual by means of a drawstop called Chamade aan. This is the operation as designed by the manufacturer of the organ.


Our virtual model extends the use of the Chamade division by making it a solo division which can be operated either from the IIIrd manual (as the original), or alternatively from the independent Vth manual. Thanks to this arrangement, Hauptwerk Master Couplers work and can be used to expend the number of couplers of this organ.


The original organ has also foot levers to operate the couplers. These were not reproduced as all foot levers only duplicate an operation of a dedicated drawstop. Only the drawstop were reproduced in our virtual model.


One special foot lever exists on the real instrument. It is called a "Barker". This enables the barker machine on the IInd manual to help the player when the instrument is under the full load and fully coupled. This was not reproduced as on digital consoles such mechanism is not needed.

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