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The Stahlhuth / Jann organ of St. Martin’s Church at Dudelange, Luxembourg

2018-05-02 - Sample Set Spotlight

The famous Stahlhuth / Jann organ of St. Martin's Church in Dudelange is a successful blending of several different national styles.  In fact it is not only a combination of national diversity, but also a large and successful joining of the work of two esteemed organ builders.

Before we take a look and listen at the organ, made possible by the new sample set produced by Voxus, let's find out about the history of the church itself, and something about the saint that this building is consecrated to.

I have to confess that this organ was COMPLETELY unknown to me, so, getting to know it has been an interesting learning experience for me!

The impressive West Front of St. Martin's Church, Dudelange

The first known residents in the area we now name Luxembourg arrived during the Roman era, and settled not very far away in the northwest of the actual city of Dudelange, on the hills of Mont Saint-Jean. Of the ancient church, managed by the order of Malta, a small chapel is extant. Mont St. Jean is a station on the Way of St. James of Compostela.

Around 1300, the parish ministry was transferred to Dulange and a chapel was built dedicated to St. Martin of Tours. The 18th-century church became much too small for the population attracted by the iron industry, the city entrusted the architects Pierre (1841-1895) and Henri-Alphonse (1872-1950) Kemp to build a new church.

The Church Exterior

In accordance with the predominating taste of the time, the church was built from 1894 till 1900 in the neo-Gothic style. It is the third-largest church in Luxembourg.

Looking west at St. Martin's Church

The cornerstone was laid on May 21st, 1894, by the General Vicar Jean Bernard Krier. Ten years later, on June 22nd, 1904, Bishop Jean Joseph Koppes, of Luxembourg, consecrated the building.

The nave is 195.5 feet (59.6 metres) long by 77 feet (23.5 metres) wide while exterior measurements are 208.3 feet (63.5 metres) by 88 feet (26.8 metres). The west facade has two towers with high-pointed steeples.

Exterior view of the apse of St. Martin's Church

The Church Interior

The Apse (viewed from the interior) and magnificent High Altar

The apse includes three stained glass windows depicting St. Martin, St. Barbara and St. John the Baptist. They were executed by Joseph (1911-1997) and Emile (1913-2004) Probst.

Looking down the Nave from the Organ Gallery

The Stations of the Cross were executed from 1900 till 1906 by local painter Dominique Lang (1874-1919).

Some of the detailed paintings on the walls of the Church

Ancient Hebraic traditions

The Ark of the Covenant

From 1924 till 1927, Benedictine monk Notker Becker (1883-1978), of Maria Laach, covered the whole interior with wall paintings. If the decorative elements refer to art nouveau, the design and the figures distinctly come from early Christian and Byzantine art. The work is monumental and impressive.

The celebration (free-standing) altar was executed in 1981 by Aurelio and Bettina Sabbatini

Looking from the High Altar to the Organ Gallery

I always like to "begin" my reviews by taking a look at the church which houses the organ being considered.  Knowing something about the history and architecture of the building always makes me feel much closer to the organ that I'm playing or listening to.

In addition, I like to research and discover some information about the saint or saints to whom the church is dedicated.  In this case, that would be Saint Martin of Tours.  Well, he's a saint that I've often heard of, and there are quite a few churches and schools dedicated to him.  I also know that his feast day is November 11th, but other than that, my knowledge is scant!  So, let's get to know him a little better...

St. Martin of Tours

Martin was born in either 316 or 336, and died on November 8, 397.  He was Bishop of Tours, France, and his shrine became a famous stopping-point for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. He has become one of the most familiar and recognizable Christian saints, and is sometimes venerated as a military saint.  He was born in what is now Szombathely, Hungary, spent much of his childhood in Pavia, Italy, and lived most of his adult life in France.  So, being quite a well-travelled fellow, he is considered by many to be a spiritual bridge across Europe.  His life was recorded by a contemporary, the hagiographer (one who writes about the lives of the saints), Sulpicius Severus.

As the son of a veteran officer, at fifteen years of age, Martin was required to join the cavalry. Having been baptized around the age of 18 around, he was stationed near modern day Amiens.  It is likely that he joined the heavy cavalry, and was probably part of the elite cavalry bodyguard of the Emperor, which accompanied him on his travels around the Empire.

St. Martin renounces his service in the army before the battle at Borbetomagus

After serving in the army for almost 30 years, Severus reports that just before a battle in the Gallic provinces at Borbetomagus, Martin determined that his switch of allegiance to a new commanding officer (away from antichristian Julian and unto Christ), along with reticence to receive Julian's pay just as Martin was retiring, prohibited his taking the money and continuing to submit to the authority of the former now, telling him, "I am the soldier of Christ: it is not lawful for me to fight." He was charged with cowardice and jailed, but in response to the charge, he volunteered to go unarmed to the front of the troops. His superiors planned to take him up on the offer, but before they could, the invaders sued for peace, the battle never occurred, and Martin was released from military service.

After a life as hermit and then monk, Martin was named (against his wishes) to be Bishop of Tours in 371.

St. Martin, painted by Miguel March (1633-1670)

He is best known for the account of his using his military sword to cut his cloak in two, to give half to a beggar clad only in rags in the depth of winter.  Conscripted as a soldier into the Roman army,  he found the duty incompatible with the Christian faith he had adopted and became an early conscientious objector.  His emblem in English art is often that of a goose, whose annual migration is about late Autumn.

St. Martin sharing his cloak

So, now that we know a little about the area, the city of Dudelange, a fair bit about St. Martin of Tours, and the church that stands there in his honor, let's begin to take a good look at the grand organ itself!

St. Martin of Tours in stained-glass


The organ in St. Martin’s church was built in 1912 by the organbuilder Georg Stahlhuth (1830-1913) and his son Eduard Stahlhuth (1862-1916).

As Germans, based at Aachen, Georg and Eduard Stahlhuth had all the basic knowledge of German romantic organ building. As disciples and close friends of Joseph Merklin at Brussels and Lyon, they also had a keen interest in the development of French symphonic organ design.  In addition, their contracts in England and Ireland provided them with good knowledge of the English romantic organ.  Thus, they were among the rare organbuilders able to incorporate both French and English characteristics into German romantic organbuilding, defending this "blending" by citing Albert Schweitzer’s opinions in matter of organ building.  It was on these principles that the project was begun in 1912.

Looking directly at the Great Organ, surrounding the Rose Window

The three-manual organ of 1912 had 45 stops (and 3 transmissions under expression in the pedal) on cone-valve chests with pneumatic note and stop action. Wind was supplied by three English water engines. A further borrowing from English organ building was the high-pressure Tuba mirabilis 8‘ in the Positiv-Swell division, voiced on 300 mm. Typical French features were the overblowing stops (typical of Stahlhuth’s organs) and the reeds of French-style construction (with tin-plated shallots), of which at least three were supplied by the Paris firm Veuve Jules Sézerie: Vox humana 8', Tuba 8' and Posaune 16'.  Despite this unique "versatility, the organ was still grounded in the German romantic style, with plentiful foundation 8‘-stops, differentiation in the manuals according to the various scalings (wide, normal, narrow) and their dynamic gradation (f, mf, p). Besides the high-pressure Tuba mirabilis, the organ had two further „Starkton-Register“ (strong and expressive in tonal design): Seraphon Gedackt 8‘ and Seraphon Flöte 8‘, each with two mouths. With theese three loud toned stops, the numerous foundation stops and the two expressive divisions with their sub and superoctave couplers, the organ had an exceptionally broad dynamic spectrum.

Details of the walls and ceiling

In 1962, in accordance with the then predominant neo-baroque tonal aesthetic, the organ suffered far reaching modifications in total negligence of its stylistic specificity.  These included the reduction of the wind pressure, replacement of the pneumatic action by electric action, removal of the original console, changes to the pipework, transfer of stops onto other windchests, addition of high-pitched mixtures and mutations, as well as a fourth manual of neo-baroque conception and removal of characteristic Stahlhuth stops.

Another view of the details and decorations surrounding the Organ

How sad that this (and MANY) instruments suffer the fate of being forced to be something they are not designed to be!  Even sadder is the fact that these "alterations," often poorly done, serve as the "death sentence" for these once venerable instruments.  How fortunate for THIS organ that it survived and lives today as an even greater monument to those who constructed it and maintain it with love and skill!

So it was that after the organ had become nearly unplayable by the mid-1990s, a renovation of the organ had become inescapable.  So, during the period of 2001 to 2002, the project was undertaken by the firm of Thomas Jann, Laberweinting and his craftsmen.  Particular attention being given to the:

• Restoration and reconstruction of the Stahlhuth pipes and windchests from 1912
• Renewal of the swell boxes and the wind supply system
• Removal of the additonal stops from 1962 and reverse of the transfers carried out in 1962
• Addition of a Bombarde division in place of the neo-baroque Positiv
• Harmonious extension of the organ up to 78 speaking stops with both German romantic and French   symphonic tone colors, notably by :
• Further development of the string chorus (full-fledged chorus from 16’ through Terzgamba 1 3/5’)
• Numerous orchestral solo stops, constructed and voiced in both German and French style
• Extension and differentiation of the numerous reed chorus (23 stops in all) of both German romantic   and French symphonic style on all manuals
• A strong fundamental tone based on 32’ (Untersatz 32’ from CC, full-length Contrabombarde 32’)
• Octave mutations 5 1/3’ and 3 1/5’ and low-pitched, partly progressive mixtures
• Revoicing of the whole organ, carried out without compromise according to romantic voicing   techniques.

Looking at the pipework from the Console

Thus, since 2002, the most significant trait of the organ is the stylistically authentic performance not only of German but also of French and English repertoire from the romantic-symphonic era.

Console of the Stahluth / Jann Organ (Notice the wear on the pedals!)

In addition, there is a new four-manual console with electronic combination action, MIDI-interface and replay system.

The grand, new console

So, let's spend some time looking at each division, dwelling on any special features, and using musical examples to give testament to my opinions/statements!

The Sample Set - Features, Screens and Musical Examples

Just to get things started, here is the magnificent Entrée Pontificale, Op. 104, No. 1 by the great Italian organist, Marco Enrico Bossi.

When you review the specifications, the mark "*" by a rank indicates this stop is an original Stahluth stop. A jeux restaurés ou reconstitués de 1912.

Stop knobs and controls, left side

Manuaal 1 (C-c4) 100 mm Manuaal
Prinzipal 16’*
Bordun 16’*
Majorprinzipal 8’*
Minorprinzipal 8’*
Seraphon Gedackt 8’*
Fugara 8’*
Gemshorn 8’* 
Rohrflöte 8’*
Quinte 5 1/3’ 
Octav 4’*
Flûte harmonique 4’*
Terz 3 1/5’ 
Quinte 2 2/3’*
Octav 2’*
Terz 1 3/5’*
Großmixtur 3-4 fach 2 2/3‘
Mixtur 4-5 fach 2‘
Bombarde 16’ 
Trompete 8’*
Horn 8’ 
Clairon 4’

The Grand-Orgue (Great) is a large and complete division.  Obviously the "nationality" is a traditional and large-scale French instrument, but there are several unique stops worthy of mention: the Seraphon Gedackt 8’ and the Horn 8' are special to this organ, and I have demonstrated them to highlight them, which I will come to in a few moments.

The chorus of foundations is large, weighty and full-toned.  There is a singing quality to it, whether or not you are using the 8' stops, or with the 4', and certainly with the full 16', 8' & 4' stops.  The flutes are colorful, whether as solo voices in the blend of the chorus.  The mutation stops are exceptionally complete, even to including the Quinte 5 1/3' and the Terz 1 3/5'.  This gives the opportunity to create a full, Grosse Tierce, which can be used to good effect in some 18th-century French works.

The two 8' "principals" lend variety and density to the sound.  The are sort of like the Large and Small Open Diapasons on an English Great division, although the tonal quality is more "stringy" and harmonically developed than are most English diapasons.

Mixtures are present in both the 16' series (Großmixtur 3-4 fach 2 2/3‘) , as well as in the 8' series (Mixtur 4-5 fach 2‘).  These mixtures add density and color, but don't have the "glitter" or "sparkle" that we might expect in a more Germanic instrument.

The reed chorus is strong and fiery, but not in an overly aggressive.  Individual reed stops may be used well as solos, or to complete the very complete "full Great."

The Fugara 8' is an exceptionally keen string stop.  It can be used in chorus, to be it tend to dominate.  It can also feature is a solo, but you may have to "thicken it up" a bit, unless you want a strong, thin tone.

The Organ Gallery

Let me call your attention to some of the special sounds of this division:

I found that it was an exciting sound that I achieved with the full principal chorus with all mixtures, coupled to the Positif and the full Récit.  As I say in my performance notes for the Prelude and Fugue in C Minor, BWV 546 by J. S. Bach, it was my intention to use THIS organ to maximum effect, rather than attempting to make it sound "historically or nationally accurate."

In this example you'll hear the sweet unison qualities achievable on the Great.  Of course there are other divisions that are coupled in, but the Great it was I'm highlighting.  Most of the registrations are detailed in my performance notes.  So, take a listen to Intermezzo Sinfonica by Pietro Mascagni to hear what I mean.

You wouldn't normally think of an organ like this for the music of John Stanley, but these two voluntaries worked remarkably well.  Take a listen to the Voluntary in D Major, Op. 5, No. 5 where you can hear the "English diapasons" as well as the famous Seraphon Gedackt, and the Voluntary in F Major, Op. 6, No. 4 showing more versatility of the Great organ.  As with most of these, there are other stops and divisions featured as well, but all of these things are detailed in my performance notes.

To hear this organ at it's "fullest" you can listen to the imposing Marche Triomphale on Nun Danket alle Gott, Op. 65, No. 59 by Sigfrid Karg-Elert:  (Here you'll just about all this organ can put out, although there is on upload that has even a little more!)  This is one of those massive instruments that can still crescendo even after you've reached the "full organ!"

If you're looking for a fully-French experience, try the Chorale No. 1 in E Major by Cesar Franck, and the Carillon du Longpont from the 24 Pièces en style libre by Louis Vierne.

A work that highlights both the Seraphon Gedackt of the Grand Orgue and the Seraphon Flöte 8’ of the Positif, the Minuet in B MInor from Arminius by G. F. Handel.

The Prelude on 'Amazing Grace' by Englishman / American Lindsay Lafford while show more of the versatility of various degrees coupled to the Great.

If you look at the specification (given above each division as it is discussed), you'll notice that stops that have an * by them indicate they are stops from the original Stahluth instrument from 1912.  The Grand Chœur en ut majeur by Charles-Alexis Chauvet uses ONLY the surviving stops from this 1912 instrument, without ANY of the stops from the Jann rebuild.

The Horn 8' is an exceptional stop.  It is a free reed, and is unique in tone and quality.  There is a special "expression pedal" to "regulate" this stop, and how it speaks.  You can hear it to fine effect in this rare Prélude et Cantilène by Samuel-Alexander Rousseau.  Listening to this makes me feel that I am strolling a Parisian street, @ 1900on a warm Sunday afternoon, hearing the music of an accordion coming from a café further down the street.  An exceptional piece and a very unique sound of ethereal beauty!  You'll also hear the purr of the Untersatz 32' at the very end.  This is one of my personal favorites of all the recordings I've done on this great organ!

The Console

Postif (expressif)                                                                                                                             Manuaal 2 (C-c4) 100 mm

Bordun 16’*
Gamba 16’(Ext. Gamba 8’) 
Prinzipal 8’* 
Seraphon Flöte 8’*
Gamba 8’*
Vox coelestis 8’*
Quintatön 8’*
Lieblichgedackt 8’* (Ext. Bordun 16’)
Octav 4’* 
Flauttraverso 4’*
Gamba 4’ (Ext. Gamba 8’) 
Nasard 2 2/3’
Quintgamba 2 2/3’
Piccolo 2’* 
Gamba 2’(Ext. Gamba 8’)    
Tierce 1 3/5’     
Terzgamba 1 3/5’     
Plein-jeu 5-6 fach 2 2/3‘   
Tuba 8’* 
Cor anglais 16’    
Clairon 4’  
Tuba mirabilis (300 mm) 8’*       
Trompete 8’*       
Clarinette 8’*    

The Positif, which is under expression, is another large and very complete division.  It is largely "traditional French," but it has some unusual stops in the mix, each with a real presence in the organ.

The chorus is complete, right down the 16' Bordun.  There is a lot of weight here, but the Positif "closes up nicely" and can make a nice bit of crescendo against the fonds of the Grand Orgue.  The Gamba 8', which is one of the original 1912 stops, has been extended to also play at 16', 4', 2 2/3' and  even to 1 3/5'.  The Trompete 8' is both a chorus and solo stop, but is not overly aggressive.  The Clarinette 8' is a fine example, quite rich in tone, and can also serve in chorus.  The Tuba mirabilis was a desire to bring some of the sounds of the English cathedral into the organ and it's a magnificent example of the stop.  It sounds "fully English" and is a superb example of what a tuba should sound like!  There is also a Cor anglais at 16', which is a lovely stop, and another sound that comes from the more English examples.

For listening examples, let's take the two "solo reeds" from the Positif and hear them in "dialogue" with each other.  For this, let's turn to the famous Sicilienne by Maria Theresia von Paradis.  In this performance you'll hear the two reeds being used as the solo voice, then "alternated" on the repeat:

This organ, with its size and variety can play anything really.  Take a listen to Suite du 1er ton by Jean-Baptiste Nôtre.  This performance features stops and combinations from the Positif prominently, but there are many other colors heard as well.  It would be impossible to make this highlight any one stop or division!  Still the variety which is available here help to demonstrate the versatility of the instrument.

Clarifca me Pater by Thomas Tomkins will give another perspective of the "English diapason" sounds.  The technical details of what registrations are used and combined are always to be found in the performance notes or in the comments.

The "English tuba" that I talked about before gets a chance to shine in Fanfare by Francis Jackson, who is now celebrating his 100th year!  Wanting the fullest power for the "fanfare reed" part, I did couple the Trompette en chamade 8' from the Bombarde division, but it is the wonderful Tuba mirabils that carries the part and wins the day!

You'll also hear the wonderful Tuba mirabilis "on its own" in the Postlude on 'Regent Square' from Five Hymn-Tune Variants, No. 5 by Eric H. Thiman.  Here the "English qualities" of the tuba show nicely.  For "purists" the "full Swell" is a little "too French," but the effect is still excellent!

For coloratura chorale preludes, I call your attention to Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele, BWV 654 by J. S. Bach.  You may find that you have to "fiddle a bit" with stops to get the "accompaniment sound that you want, but everything you need is present in the instrument.

Using the same chorale for contrast, let's hear Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele from the Eleven Chorale Preludes, Op. 122, No. 5 by Johannes Brahms.  Here you can listen to two "versions" of the piece, one using only the Lieblichgedackt 8’ of the Positif, and the second time adding the Positif Quintatön 8’.

The most "usual mixture" on the entire instrument is the Plein-jeu 5-6 fach of the Positif.  I say "usual" because it is based on the 8' series, can be used without 16' manual stops, and adds more of the "mixture glitter" to the texture than the other mixtures of the organ.

The colorful flutes of this division can be used in an almost limitless number of combinations.  In the Eklog by American composer Richard Purvis, you'll hear the  Lieblichgedackt 8' combined with the Piccolo 2'.  The sound is bright, but still sweet and not shrill.  In this performance you'll also hear the Positif Clarinette 8' played in the tenor register.

The "mystical colors" of the Positif (and other divisions) can be heard in Jehan Alain's Le jardin suspendu.

Lyrical Canticle from Six Lyrical Pieces by Flor Peeters will demonstrate some further Positif "solos" and combinations.

Console, slightly different view

Récit (expressif)
Manuaal 3 (C-c4) 90 mm

Quintatön 16’ 
Geigenprinzipal 8’*
Flûte harmonique 8’*
Violine 8’* 
Unda maris 8’*  
Zartgedackt 8’* 
Salicional 8’*  
Octav 4’   
Rohrflöte 4’*   
Fugara 4’* 
Flageolet 2’*  
Progr. harm. 3-5 fach 2 2/3’ 
Bombarde 16’   
Trompette harmonique 8’   
Basson et Hautbois 8’    
Oboe 8’*  
Vox humana 8’*   
Clairon harmonique 4’  

The Récit is another big, typically French-style division, with a few extras added, such as the lovely Zartgedackt 8', the Violine 8' (another very prominent string) and the Fugara 4' (similar to the Violine 8').  The Quintatön 16’ sounds like it is named, with a thin tone, and prominent quint overtones.  It is NOT just a "misnamed Bourdon," as the sound is very different from a "neutral" 16' flute stop. The mixture, Progr. harm. 3-5 fach really need to be with a 16' manual stop, and don't expect any sort of "neo-baroque glitter," as this will not provide it.  The Vox Humana is not small, but definitely of the romantic-type, as you would expect.  There are "2 oboes" which are very different in character.  The Basson et Hautbois, which is a new stop, is more "gentle" than the original 1912 Oboe.  (I would have expected the opposite to be the case!)  The full Swell is impressive and powerful.

First, let's take a listen to the contrasts between the Oboe and the Basson et Hautbois in this brief Larghetto by Alexandre Pierre François Boëly.  The two reads are used separately in the 2 performances of the same piece.  The performance details are given in the notes with the upload.

Piccola Fanfara by Marco Enrico Bossi showcases the fine Trompette harmonique 8’ of the Récit. It appears in a sort of dialogue with the Flutes 8', 4', 2 2/3' of the Grand Orgue.

A cool October morning alla Macdowell from Sigfrid Karg-Elert's 33 Musical Portraits show some of the quiet strings and flutes of the Récit which are heard in contrast with the strings of the Positif.

Another "color riot" comes from the same composer and collection, the amazing Frauengunst alla Strauss, is set as a Viennese waltz (of sorts!) with kaleidoscopic colors and rapid changes!

The "English school" is well-represented by the famous Frank Bridge Adagio in E.  You can hear that a very satisfactory performance is achieved with careful management of the stops, and you can "bridge from pp to fff and back, but pleasing as the sounds are, they are not as "refined" as the sounds of an English Willis or Harrison would be.

To hear more of the Oboe, you may enjoy this wonderful Vierne Pastorale, also from the 24 Pièces en style libre.

manuaal 4 (C-c4) 120 mm  

Bombarde en chamade 16’
Trompette en chamade 8’ 
Trompette. en chamade 5 1/3’ 
Clairon en chamade 4’  

The Bombarde division is entirely new, and replaced the unsuccessful neo-Baroque division that had "appeared" over the years.  It is a relatively "small" division, and has only the four chamade reeds, which are present at the "expected" pitches of 16', 8' and 4', with the unexpected rank at 5 1/3'!

The chamades of the Bombarde underneath the Rose Window

The character of the stops are fiery, but not overwhelming.  They are intended to be used "soloistically," but can be added to the tutti if you want a really "final" or "cumulative" sound.

To listen to some "reed solos" from the Bombarde and other divisions, you will like Cuatro Piezas de Clarines by Jean Baptiste Lully.

You can hear the Trompette en chamade 8' in Eric Thiman's Trumpet Tune on 'Moscow' (Five Hymn-Tune Variants, No. 1).  As I said in my performance notes, the sound is "not English" but pleasing and delightful as it is!  Notice that this reed is not as big as you would expect an English Solo Tuba to be.

You can hear the chamades (16', 8', & 4') "come on" at the very end of the Franck "Chorale No. 1 in E Major."

The full Bombarde division, and EVERYTHING else that the organ has is heard at the end of Jehan Alain's monumental Litanies.  This really is the FULLEST it can go, including most couplers and the Trompette en chamade 5 1/3'.

The impressive chamades of the Bombarde Division

(C-g1) 95 mm; 32‘: 120 mm

Untersatz 32’*
Majorbass 16’* 
Minorbass 16’*  (Tr. Princ. 16’ I) 
Subbass 16’* 
Gamba 16’   (Tr. Gamba 16’ II) 
Bordun 16’* (Tr. Bordun 16’ II)  
Oktavbass 8’* 
Gedacktbass 8’ 
Cello 8’*  
Zartgedackt 8’* Tr. Lieblichgedackt 8’ II) 
Flûte 4’  
Choralbass 4’ (Ext. Oktavb.)
Contrabombarde 32’ Ext. Posaune 16’) 
Posaune 16’* 
Fagott 16’  
Tuba 8’* 
Clairon 4’    

The pedal division is a "complete one" (as you would expect), with foundational tone being present at 32', 16', 8' and 4'.  There is variety in the "weight and volume" of the various stops, and it is possible to find "unusual" and "soloistic colors" if you spend the time experimenting with the large sound spectrum at your disposal.

For instance, you can create some unexpected "orchestral string colors" with a little "mixing and matching" between divisions, as shown in the Walther transcription of Concerto del. Signor Taglietti.

The overall "color" of the Pedal seemed like a cross between German and French to me way of hearing it.  As with the manual examples, the Principals have more "stringiness" and are less "fundamental" than a big, English Open Wood.

The reeds supply the "thunder" that you'll want for your big toccatas, and the principals and flutes are varied enough to supply the colors and varied levels of sound for most all of the repertoire that you'll want to play upon this grand organ.

As two final examples of the sweetly distinctive and understated nobility that this organ can provide, I direct you to these two unique pieces by the Swedish composer, Viktor Patrik Vretblad.

Here is the Andante religioso, Op. 14 and the solemn, Am Charfreitag (On Good Friday), a work that shows the restrained intensity of some of the string stops that are quite unique to this organ.

The Hauptwerk Screens and User Experience

Screens showing All Stops (drawn and undrawn) - when using a Single Monitor

Like all of the Voxus sample sets, the quality is of the highest level.  Everything installed easily without issue, and loaded perfectly the first time.  

Screens showing stops (drawn and undrawn) on the Left Side when using two Monitors

It is a big organ and a big sample set, but I was able to load it all into 64 GB of RAM at 24-bit resolution (uncompressed).  In making the 49 "demo recordings" there have been no issues experienced by me.  It all works exactly as you would hope it would!

If there is anything missing from the set, at least to my opinion, it is the fact that there is no "virtual console."  The stop "knobs" are clearly laid out on the screen, whether you are using only one monitor as I do, or twin monitors.  

Screens showing stops (drawn and undrawn) on the Right Side when using two Monitors

Like the real console, the original Stahluth stop-knobs are lettered in black, and the newer Jann stop-knobs are lettered in red.  You can compare the Hauptwerk screens with the stops on the real console.

The stop knobs of the console lettered in red and black


Is this organ sample set right for you?

Each organist will have varying opinions and tastes, so, this is a question that each individual will answer for themselves.

This is a very impressive instrument with an unusually high level of versatility.  It can play virtually all kinds of music, and can deliver beautiful-sounding renditions of all of the major schools of organ literature.  Certainly it will excel in the French romantic tradition, but also is impressive in the German school.  Such is the intention of the builders, and they have achieved their goal with room to spare!

This instrument can play Baroque literature as well, and seems to handle French classic repertoire nicely.  If however, you are seeking an instrument that will play Bach, seeking to make it sound like "authentic German Baroque," you will find yourself challenged with the results!  The mixtures just aren't designed to be used that way.  Still, convincing performances can be achieved if you are willing to and capable of working with the resources at hand.

The organ can also handle the English repertoire, thanks especially to some of the solo stops and the splendid Tuba mirabilis.  However, it will not sound like a true English organ.  The reeds are a bit "too hot," and the voicing of many stops is a bit more robust and "rustic" than those voiced in the classic English manner.

As an investment, if you are seeking to have a large, brilliant, versatile instrument in your Sample Set Stable, the Stahluth/Jann organ of St. Martin's Church makes for a superb choice!

The magnificent Console

THANKS to Voxus Virtual Organs

At this time I want to say THANK YOU to Voxus for giving me the opportunity to play and review this sample set.

Special thanks to Roland van den Berg for all his help and friendly support.

I am not employed by Voxus, nor was I paid to write this Sample Set Spotlight.

As with all my reviews, it is my desire to be "honestly positive" in what I say.  I base my opinions on my own musical taste and beliefs, and seek to "back them up" with the 49 (I meant to do 50!) recordings I have made using this sample set.

It is not my intent to hurt or damage anyone's work.  I write I what I believe to be true, but would not "praise or endorse" anything that I did not believe was of high quality.

This sample set is of the high quality that I would seek and demand, and I have enjoyed getting to know the instrument, and sharing my music and thoughts with the reader/listener.

For pricing and more information:

A final look at the West Front of the impressive St. Martin's Church


biogon (2019-04-09) Edited Log in to Reply
Thankyou for your very detailed review of this new organ. This is one of my favorites wide repertoire instruments. Now I have more doubts comparing it with Görlitz, Laurentius or Laurenskerk going to buy a sample set Organ. Perhaps the Voxus only wet organ is expensive compared to the 6 channels in the others sets.
Agnus_Dei (2019-04-09) Log in to Reply
THANKS, biogon!

It's a grand set, and the quality of all the Voxus organs is superb.

I've NEVER found a glitch or bug in any of their sets. :-)


Octav (2018-05-31) Log in to Reply
Wonderful review! I recognized the murals immediately since I saw them in a trailer for a Daniel Roth CD that he did there a few years ago, and I was excited that it now is a sample set!
Agnus_Dei (2018-06-01) Log in to Reply
THANKS a lot, Octav!

I appreciate your taking the time to say so, and I hope it and the musical samples that I did were interesting and helpful! :-)


GuidoSmo (2018-05-08) Log in to Reply
Dear David,

Thank you very much indeed for this splendid service to the organ community! After listening to your performances I think you put the sample set in exactly the right corner. But who am I? Your expertise is unmatched. Thanks also for bringing so much less known compositions to our attention. It is very enriching.
Agnus_Dei (2018-05-08) Log in to Reply

There are MANY fine musicians who participate in the Concert Hall, and I am pleased to be part of the group!

I do spend a lot of time in preparing these "reviews," and I appreciate your thanks!


TheoJ (2018-05-03) Log in to Reply
Dear David,

I totally agree with the previous speakers, this is again an exceptional piece of work well worth the waiting for it!

For me it has been a wonderful and sometimes overwhelming experience to listen to your recordings, and as a tuft you give us now even this 'creamy topping' of a thorough review with all the contextual educational information.

Enjoy your well-deserved rest, and when you're recovered again: I'm looking forward to that 50th recording :-)
Agnus_Dei (2018-05-03) Log in to Reply

It's nice of you to say, and I do appreciate it.

I hope the review is helpful and interesting! :-)
Insulaner (2018-05-03) Log in to Reply
I said earlier on that - after reading your other sample set spotlights - I was looking forward to your review of the Stahlhuth/Jann and my expectations are more than fulfilled! Your style of writing is very enjoying to read. It must have taken hours to select the pieces that show pros and cons of this three-country-organ. This review is very useful for everyone who considers to spent his good money on this sample set! So thank you very much for this!
Agnus_Dei (2018-05-03) Log in to Reply
THANK YOU, Oliver!

I'm glad it was enjoyable and helpful! :-)
thways (2018-05-03) Log in to Reply
I totally agree with Edo and Andrew. It's been a pleasure to read and listen... Thanks a lot!
Agnus_Dei (2018-05-03) Log in to Reply
THANKS, Thorsten!

I appreciate your taking the time to read/listen, and letting me know you liked it.
EdoL (2018-05-03) Log in to Reply
Another exceptionally wel-written and in depth review, like the one you did for the Haarlem Bavo organ.
You write as expertly as you play. And indeed the review is truly honest.
Thanks for all the work you did on reviewing this organ, the church and its history and the building history of the instrument.

Agnus_Dei (2018-05-03) Log in to Reply

I hope it's interesting and helpful, and I SINCERELY appreciate your kindness! :-)
Erzahler (2018-05-02) Log in to Reply
Another impressive and in depth review. Thankyou for your extensive work and plentiful musical examples.
Agnus_Dei (2018-05-02) Log in to Reply
THANKS, Andrew!

It took a lot of time, so, I'm glad it's up!

Thanks for reading it. :-)
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