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.
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.
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