Este, St. Maria delle Grazie, Mascioni

Mascioni, op. 498 (1937), Este, Italy

The church of Santa Madonna delle Grazie in Este (PD), contains a mid-sized organ by the leading Italian firm Mascioni. It was created in 1937 as their opus 498. The organ has two manuals, pedal, and 28 speaking stops. The organ spans the space over the presbytery on both the left (G.O. + Pedal) and on the right (Ripieno) of the altar. The organ console is situated behind the altar.
The description of the original church, built in 1489 by the Conventual Dominicans, already mentions an organ installed in the choir. However, there are no indications of its supplier, nor of what kind of organ it might have been. But we know the Dominicans often turned to external firms rather than to the local area.
In 1717, construction began on the current basilica, which is larger than the previous structure. Here, too, we find references to an organ; the most explicit information can be found in a note from 1885 that refers to the construction of the staircase leading to the venerated icon of the Madonna. In this note, the writer complains that the staircase was rebuilt several times because it 'had to pass through one of the rooms where the organ was placed'.
The organ that exists today was built by the Mascioni di Cuvio organ company, inaugurated in 1937 by the famous maestro Concertista and composer Oreste Ravanello. This event completed both the installation of the new organ and the transition of the church from parish to basilica.
The organ served well for half a century, after which its restoration was carried out in 1980 by the Ruffatti company. One other repair, including replacement of the keyboards and modification of the electrical system, was carried out in 2006 by the organ builders Scarparo and Vecchiato.
The instrument is a fine example of the Italian Cecilian reform organ. Its multifaceted symphonic characteristics are remarkable, notwithstanding the limited stop layout. The stops blend extremely well and the glorious church acoustics (the reverb time up to 7 seconds) adds to the spectacular result. Both manuals have full principal choruses crowned with multi-rank mixtures. There are the typical solo stops Viola, Dulciana, Flute 8 (which is a Flute harmonique), colorful reeds Clarinetto and Trompeta, and there are two undulating stops, very characteristic for Italian repertoire. The first one, the Coro Viole on the Recitativo, is intended to be combined with the Viola 8'. The Coro Viole is a three-rank string stop, where one of the ranks is made to beat against all the others. The effect is decisively pronounced, almost creating the effect of a singing choir. The second undulating voice is the Unda Maris on the Grande Organo manual, which is traditionally combined with the Principale 8' of the Grande Organo to produce an ample and rapid beating that is indispensable for Italian music such as the Elevation of the host. A tip: try decreasing the beating of the Unda Maris by about -5 cents using the Hauptwerk voicing, and combine it with the Flute 8 to experience a mystical beauty of the beating flutes.



The samples are offered in 48kHz/24bit resolution. The multiple releases have three levels: short, mid and long. Hauptwerk v4.2 and higher supported. The sample set is offered in a plain wave format, no encryption.

Reverb time

The reverb time is ca. 7 seconds.

Keyboards, pedalboard

The original compass of the keyboards is 61 keys (full 5 octaves). The original compass of the pedal division is 32 keys.


All ranks of the Ripieno (Swell) were recorded with and without tremulants for the most convincing tremulant behavior. However, loading the authentic tremmed ranks consumes large amount of RAM. It is possible to select to use the artificial tremulant instead to save RAM (the switch is located on the mixer tab).


RAM consumption: 8-channel surround

  • 16-bit, other settings default:  25 GB
  • 20-bit, other settings default:  41 GB
  • 24-bit, other settings default:  46 GB

* loading in 16-bit depth is NOT recommended due to high amount of digital hiss emerging, since the noise floor of the 16-bit depth is too high and very audible with the many samples sounding simultaneously.

Screen resolution 1280x1024 px or more.

Polyphony of 10.000 voices recommended for the full suround (5000 minimum).

Surround format

The sample set is offered in a Surround variant (8 channels). There are two direct channels, two diffuse channels, distant channels and two rear channels.
To reproduce the surround format, an audio card with at least 4 output channels is required, dedicating the direct and diffuse and/or distant channels for the front speakers, and other two channels for the rear speakers.

The Specification

1. Grande Organo C–c4
Principale 16'
Principale 8'
Flauto 8'
Dulciana 8'
Ottava 4'
Flauto 4'
Sesquialtera 2  2/3'       
Ripieno 2 file 2'
Ripieno 1'
Tromba 8'
Unda Maris (beating)     8'
2. Recitativo (enclosed) C–c4         
Principale 8'
Bordone 8'
Viola 8'
Ottava 4'
Flauto Camino 4'
Cornetto 2  2/3'        
Ripieno 1'
Clarinetto 8'
Coro Viole (beating)     8'
Pedal C-g1
Contrabasso 16'
Subbasso 16'
Principale 8'
Basso Armonico     8'
Bordone 8'
Tromba 16'   
Tromba 8'
Trombina 4'


  • All the usual couplers available, including most of the sub- or super- couplers. Many swell stops are extended for the super-coupler up to the a4 (a sixth octave).


  • Forte Generale (Tutti)
  • Ripieno I, Ripieno II (Plenums for the Manuals),
  • Ance (Reeds On),
  • Annullatore Tromba (disable the Trumpets)
  • Annullatore Generals (General Cancel)
  • Crescendo
  • Swell pedal






Console view:

this is the general console view. It serves to define the keyboard MIDI inputs for all the divisions. The only active part of this view are the manuals and the pedals. Specifying the MIDI inputs is done by right-clicking on the desired manual or pedal. All the other screen components are image-only.




Mixer view:

The output levels of the direct, diffuse, distant and rear ranks can be adjusted here. Also the blower and tracker noises can be adjusted.

The pipe coupling and pipe detuning features can be adjusted. The sound gets somewhat mistuned with higher settings, giving the "chorus" effect to the overall sound, often found pleasingly "floating".

The mixer settings can be stored, retrieved, reset. 3 different mixer settings can be stored/recalled any time.

The switches:

Select the sampled (real) tremulant or the artificial (Hauptwerk model) tremulant.

Select the mixtures sounding as recorded (casually mistuned) or purely tuned.

Blower switch must be always on (to give virtual air into the organ, allowing it to speak).



Left+Right Jambs view:

for dual touch screens, split jambs were created. They allow for portrait or landscape orientation, according to the orientation of the touch screens.




Left + Right Jambs Vertical view:

the dual stop jambs offer vertical (portrait) orientation as an alternative.






Simple Jamb:

simplified version of a single jamb to allow for more readable version of the stop names on small LCD touch screens. There are two variants: landscape and portrait. All the stops of the organ can be found here.

Physical pistons or draw stops can be assigned to a virtual button on screen by right-clicking on the button.

The indicators for crescendo and Ripieno swell shutters show the actual position of the pedals. The four small buttons (1, 2, 3, 4) serve to recall the stored Pedal Matrix settings (see below)


Single Jamb:

All the stops are available on a single screen. This screens offers the normal and wide landscape orientation.




Pedal Matrix:

MIDI continuous controllers (hardware swell pedals) are freely assignable on this tab to any of the existing swell pedal or crescendo pedal of the virtual organ. Right-click on any pedal in the top row allows for attaching the appropriate hardware.

The pedals are wired to the swell controllers via a button matrix. In this way, any user pedal can operate any swell/crescendo. One hardware swell pedal can control any number of virtual swell pedals which is useful when the physical console has less controllers than needed. The setting can be memorized via dedicated memory pistons (1, 2, 3, 4) and recalled anytime, thus enabling changing the MIDI assignment during performance. For more details, click here.





the crescendo sequence can be adjusted here. By clicking the gray/white box, the stop is enabled/disabled in the given screscendo stage. The crescendo settings is remembered by Hauptwerk via Hauptwerk dedicated combination system (each stage of the crescendo is a memory for the combination system).

If the crescendo sequence gets corrupted by an accident, the Reset button will help you to restore the original crescendo sequence instantly.




  1. Este, Mascioni Organ, vol. 1

    Este, Mascioni Organ, vol. 1. (free volume, semi-dry and surround, 8 channels). Minimum Hauptwerk version: 4.2. (Also works in all higher versions.) No encryption.
    Price: Excl. Tax: €0.00 Incl. Tax *: €0.00 Excl. Tax

    Detail & order

  2. Este, Mascioni Organ, vol. 2

    Este, Mascioni Organ, vol. 2. Minimum Hauptwerk version: 4.2. (Also works in all higher versions.) No encryption. With vol.1 makes the full and complete sample set.
    Price: Excl. Tax: €195.00 Incl. Tax *: €235.95 Excl. Tax

    Detail & order