Smecno

Smecno - history of the organ (ca. 1587)

 

The renaissance instrument of the Holy Trinity church in Smecno is the oldest preserved and playable organ in the Czech Republic.

The instrument was built around the year 1587. The date of construction may be easily recognized by the heraldry of the donors depicted on the organ chest and from extant archive materials. The organ builder is unknown. It is known that the instrument was damaged during the thirty years war in 1631 when the soldiers of the Swedish army stole the Regal - the only reed stop. There has been one major rebuild during its history: in the late Baroque era, in 1775, a small Rückpositiv was added by Jan Rusch from Litomerice and some stops were changed.

A partial reconstruction of the organ to the renaissance state was done by Dusan Doubek before 1999. The baroque Rückpositiv was removed and the single manual in the renaissance case was renewed. The original stop names were preserved on the stop jambs and also a large number of original pipes was found inside the organ. This allowed the reconstruction of the special Renaissance sound of the individual stops. However, this reconstruction remained only partial, as the instrument was left at rather high pressure (due to newer pedal pipes - the pedal was not a part of the reconstruction job of Doubek) and therefore the pipes had rather harsh sound.

During the years 2009-2010, the reconstruction of the organ continued. The baroque Rückpositiv is now fully functional, although it remained detached from the renaissance organ having its own keyboard and drawstops opposite to the main case. Organist, therefore, cannot play the two manuals at the same time. Either the renaissance organ can be played alone, or the Positiv alone.

However, the decision was made to correct the wind pressure inside the renaissance instrument together with the necessary voicing adjustments and also a number of minor corrections to the tracker, to the windchest and to the mechanical parts of the instrument was done, so that now the reconstruction of the ancient part of the instrument may be considered finished. We are proud that we were able to sponsor this last part of the reconstruction with the money of the Sonus Paradisi project.

In our virtual model of the organ, we feature the state of the organ before and after the last restoration. The instrument was recorded before the organbuilders touched it, and after they completed their work. This is where the primary goal our project is achieved: the sound documentation of the given organ in various moments of its history. We are able to present both the variants of the sound of the instrument inside Hauptwerk, side by side, so that every ear may hear how exactly the sound of the instrument changed by pressing only a single button which toggles the before/after reconstruction sample sets. This absolutely unique and innovative way of the sound documentation is allowed thanks to the Hauptwerk technology.

The composition of the renaissance instrument

The renaissance single manual is built on two separate windchests. The first contains only the principal choir while the other the flutes. There are ventils allowing either of the windchests to be muted. They may be engaged by drawstops called in italian style "Choro primo" and "Choro secondo". This makes it possible to switch the sound of the organ quickly between the principal plenum and tiny flutes, thus imitating a two manual performance. The table shows how the stops are distributed on the windchests. Before you start to play, please do not forget to pull either the Choro primo or the Choro secondo drawstop to hear any sound at all.

MANUAL

 PEDAL
 Choro primo windchest  Choro secondo windchest  Pedal windchest
 Principale 8' (Prospekt)  Salicinale 8'  Superoctavasus 4'
 Cimbale 2x 1/2'  Copula maior 8'  Octavasus 8'
 Mixtura 3x 1'  Copula minor 4'  Subbasus 16'
 Superoctava 2'  Quintadena 4'  
 Quinta maior 2 2/3'    
 Octava principale 4'    
     

It is tuned to the historical quarter-comma meantone tuning. The compass of the instrument: C1 - C5 in Hauptwerk terminology, short low octave.

The baroque Rückpositiv

The composition of the baroque Rückpositiv is very similar to a typical Czech type of the instrument.

 Copula 8'
 Copula 4'
 Fugara 4'
 Principal 2'
 Quinta 1 1/2'
 Octava 1'

The compass is four octaves, the lowest octave is short, i.e. without the semitones. Using our virtual Hauptwerk model, the Rückpositive can be heard on the lowest manual using the "extended" version of the sample set.

Features and Screenshots

  • Hauptwerk v.3.30 and higher supported.
  • The organ was recorded pipe by pipe before and after the reconstruction. Both the versions are available side by side in Hauptwerk, there is a special button to toggle between the before/afer reconstruction sample sets. Hence, the change in the timbre may be compared instantly in Hauptwerk without the need to unload/load the other version.
     
  • The samples are offered in 24bit/48kHz quality, multiple releases (3 levels). Plain wave formant (no encryption). The reverberation time is up to 2.5 seconds for the ambiental versions. The sample set is presented in 3 different versions:

    • Dry: close-up recording, the resulting almost dry samples are available in dual-mono (left and right channels). Although recorded close-up, there is always some minor reverberation still present in the samples. This time, we opted to leave these tiny reverberation tiles in the samples, not muting them. For this reason, the sample set is not completely dry, but "moist". The releases may be truncated in the Hauptwerk itself, should the user wish that. The before/after the reconstruction sound comparison available.
      •    RAM consumption:
        • full load, 16-bit: 3.4 GB
        • full load, 20-bit: 5.0 GB
        • full load, 24-bit: 6.3 GB
    • Wet: distant recording capturing the original acoustics of the church, standard for Hauptwerk sample sets. The before/after the reconstruction sound comparison available.
      • RAM consumption - very similar to the Dry set.
    • Surround: the surround recording uses 4 independent channels for each virtual pipe (for each sample). The sound of the organ pipes is captured by the front microphones, the church response by the rear microphones. The 4 channels are extracted from the recording and assembled to the sample setThe two front channels are used to supply the sound of the organ to the front speakers, while the 2 other channels offer the response of the church. You can use these two channels to feed your surround (rear) speakers. Please note, that at least 4 speakers are needed to reproduce the multi-channel audio. The before/after the reconstruction sound comparison available.
      •  RAM consumption:
        • full load: 16-bit: 5.8 GB
        • full load: 20-bit: 8.6 GB
        • full load: 24-bit: 11.2 GB
    • The Wet and Surround versions are offered in a single ODF. Please see the rank routing dialog box for details and the figure below for a description.

 

Smecno - Temperament chart

  • a dedicated tuning chart was created featuring the Original Temperament of Smecno organ, so you can load it any time and use it in conjunction with the Smecno samples. Its use is recommended. The renaissance organ of Smecno is tuned to  4-ter comma Meantone. The Smecno tuning chart will be installed together with the Smecno sample set. It is strongly advisable to use this temperament chart instead of the "Original Organ tuning" which conserves also all the casual tuning imperfections of the organ at the moment of the recording.
  • The baroque positiv of Smecno is tuned to the Werckmeister III temperament. This temperament is available in the temperament folder of Hauptwerk by default.

Screen resolution

  • All the versions of the sample set require 1280x1024 px screen resolution. The original version, if used with a double touchscreen, pivot must be enabled, since the split stop jambs are designed for a portrait view. The extended version does not require the pivot.

Smecno - screenshots

Smecno - Original

This sample set is the digital document featuring the current state of the organ together with the state of the organ before the reconstruction. The toggling between the two versions is done by clicking the special button at the left lower corner of the console screen. There was also a difference in volume: the organ before the reconstruction was too loud, after the reconstruction the volume level fits the church dimensions. We deliberately attenuated all the stops of the before the reconstruction portion of the sample set by 3 dB. This makes it more easy to comprehend the change in timbre, rather than to concentrate on the change in volume.

The stops are divided into three windchest groups as shown in the table. It has one manual (keyboard) plus pedal with the lowest octave short (the keys C#, D#, F#, G# are missing).

Choro primo Choro secondo Pedal
Principale 8' (Prospekt) Salicinale 8' Superoctavasus 4'
Cimbale 2x 1/2' Copula maior 8' Octavasus 8'
Mixtura 3x 1' Copula minor 4' Subbasus 16'
Superoctava 2' Quintadena 4'  
Quinta maior 2 2/3'    
Octava principale 4'    
     

You have to engage the drawstop named "Choro primo" to hear the sound of the Principal choir and you have to engage the drawstop named "Choro secondo" to hear the flutes. This facility imitates the ventils and may be used to quickly change the timbre of the sound to imitate the performance on two manuals.  You may use the special button in the lower left corner of the console page (and of the left jamb) to toggle between the sound before/after the reconstruction.

the console - original version the wind control the voicing control
console.jpg (913139 bajtů) bellows.jpg (729857 bajtů) voicing.jpg (848832 bajtů)
left jamb right jamb
left.jpg (866730 bajtů) right.jpg (870681 bajtů)

The split left nad right jambs are designed for a portrait view. Pivot enabled touchscreen needed.

Please note, that the added generals are purely virtual. The general labelled "x" stays for the General Cancel combination button.

Smecno - Extended

The sample set expands the divisions of the instrument onto different manuals: the baroque Rückpositive is set to the lowest manual, the Renaissance Great Organ is set to the second manual, and the top most manual is reserved for the Smecno Great Organ before the reconstruction. Again, this is still different view of the before/after reconstruction state of the instrument. By playing on the second and the top manual, you can quickly compare the sound of the organ before and after the reconstruction. The extended stop list may be easily seen from the console screenshot.

The extended version adds a Regal stop to the IIIrd manual (not displayed in the screenshot).

the console - extended version the wind control the voicing control
consoleExt.jpg (944275 bajtů) bellows.jpg (729857 bajtů) voicingExt.jpg (873909 bajtů)
left jamb right jamb
leftExt.jpg (862789 bajtů) rightExt.jpg (867039 bajtů)

The semitransparent buttons in the right lower corner labelled "m" and "p" stay for the virtually added couplers: the [m]anual coupler and the [p]edal coupler respectively. The organ itself does not posses any couplers.In fact, the baroque positive and the renaissance organ are split apart, so that it is not possible to play them simultaneously.

Please note again, that the added generals are purely virtual. The general labelled "x" stays for the General Cancel combination button.

Specification

Renaissance Organ

MANUAL

 PEDAL
 Choro primo windchest  Choro secondo windchest  Pedal windchest
 Principale 8' (Prospekt)  Salicinale 8'  Superoctavasus 4'
 Cimbale 2x 1/2'  Copula maior 8'  Octavasus 8'
 Mixtura 3x 1'  Copula minor 4'  Subbasus 16'
 Superoctava 2'  Quintadena 4'  
 Quinta maior 2 2/3'    
 Octava principale 4'    
     

 

The Positiv

 Copula 8'
 Copula 4'
 Fugara 4'
 Principal 2'
 Quinta 1 1/2'
 Octava 1'
 
The Extended version adds a Regal stop.

Updates

12. 12. 2012

  • Wet and Surround update no. 2.2-2.3
    • one wrong release sample of the Quinta maior corrected. 
    • Release behavior improved. 
    • Regal 8 added to the extended version. The Regal is operated via a small drawstop in the upper right corner of the extended console, labelled with a small "R" - for Regal.
    • for 2.3 update: Regal rear releases improved further.

 

 

Known issues

The html information file does not come up when "Show organ information" menu item is clicked. Workaround: Please go directly to the Smecno presentation on this web server instead.

  1. Smecno All-in-One Sample Set.

    Smecno organ model, Dry, Wet and Surround together.

    €109.00

    Excl. Tax

    Detail & order