The organ of the parish church of S. Lorenzo in Costa Serina boasts a very long history, during which it has been enriched with historical stratifications all of high quality level that make it a real compendium of Lombard organ building art from the sec. XVII to XX.
It was built in 1607 by Costanzo Antegnati for the convent of S. Agostino in Bergamo; then it was enlarged by Giuseppe I Serassi, progenitor of the great family of Lombard organ builders, in 1747 keeping the antegnatian pipework almost intact. In 1810, following the Innocentian suppression by the Venetian Republic, the convent was closed and its assets sold at auction; among these the organ was purchased in 1828 by the parish of Costa Serina and installed there without modification by replacing a pre-existing instrument, installed in 1716 by unknown author.
In 1865 Egidio Sgritta was called for a substantial expansion work that gave the instrument its current set-up: bellows, windchests and mechanical system can be traced back to this intervention, which however kept the existing pipework with the addition of some new "orchestral" stops and typical 19th century Lombard accessories (Band, Bass Drum, Timpani, small bells on the keyboard). In 1904 the organ was revised by Francesco Roberti of Bergamo, with a partial reform in the Cecilian sense(partly removing the nineteenth-century accessories). Other minor works were carried out in 1940 and 1981 by the local craftsman Lorenzo Adobati; in particular, the installation of a Voce Celeste stop and a new console with a concave radial pedalboard of 24 keys dates back to his last intervention.
The apparent heterogeneity of the various historical stratifications is contrasted by a surprising unity in voicing, basically due to the synthesis between the structure given by Egidio Sgritta (belonging to the nineteenth-century Bergamo school, direct heir of the great tradition of the Serassi) and the partial reform of 1904. The softening of the chiff did not take place at the expense of the character of the individual registers, still perfectly enjoyable in their colorful personality and capable of a multifaceted variety of combinations useful for the interpretation of a much larger repertoire than that traditionally executable on nineteenth-century organs of Lombard area, despite the limits imposed by the single keyboard, the broken registers and the pedalboard with only 12 real notes. It is, therefore, an instrument that can be framed in the typology of the "romantic-risorgimental organ" dear to the Lombard and Bergamo nineteenth century in particular, but with peculiarities that make it considered a stand-alone case, very rare in terms of quality and balance in the pipework.
Organ built in 1607 by Costanzo Antegnati of Brescia for the convent of S. Agostino in Bergamo; enlarged in 1747 by Giuseppe I Serassi. In 1828 it was sold to the parish of S. Lorenzo in Costa Serina, where it was again enlarged in 1865 by Egidio Sgritta of Bergamo. In 1904 it was partially reformed by Francesco Roberti; in 1940 and 1981 it was revised by Lorenzo Adobati of Costa Serina.
"Window" console (as usual in historic italian organs): single manual, compass 54 keys C1-F5 but only 50 real notes (the first Cs-Ds-Fs-Gs are hardly-coupled to the upper octave); bass-soprano split between B2 and C3. 24-key radial concave pedalboard for 12 real notes (the second octave returns to the first). Stops are of the "manette alla lombarda" (small levers with notch) type, arranged in two columns to the right of the console. Disposition:
|Colonna interna||Colonna esterna|
|VOCE CELESTE||PRINCIPALE 16 P. B.|
|TROMBA 8 P. B.||PRINCIPALE 16 P. S.|
|TROMBA 8 P. S.||PRINCIPALE 8 P. B.|
|CLARINO (Corno Inglese 16' sopr.)||PRINCIPALE 8 P. S.|
|VIOLA BASSI 8 P.||OTTAVA 4 P. B.|
|FLUTTA 8 P. S.||OTTAVA 4 P. S.|
|FLAUTO 8 P. B. (Flauto in VIII 4' bassi)||QUINTADECIMA|
|FLAUTO 8 P. S. (Flauto in VIII 4' soprani)||DECIMANONA|
|VIOLA SOPRANI 8 P.||VIGESIMASECONDA|
|VOCE UMANA||DUE DI PIENO|
|TIMBALLI||DUE DI PIENO|
|TROMBONI 8 P.||CONTRABBASSI 16 P.|
The 16' and 8' Principals have the first octave chromatic (wood pipes on their own windchests) with the Principale 8' acting as reinforcement at 16' from C1 to B1; the Flauto in VIII (Octave Flute) is real from C2, borrowing the first octave from the Ottava 4' bassi.
Two footlevers to the right of the pedal for Tiratutti (Principal Plenum combination) and Combinazione alla Lombarda (a free combination: for its operation see below, in the explanation of the sample-set functions); five iron small latch-down foot pedals on the front of the pedalboard for Tasto-Pedale (disengages the keyboard-pedal coupler, otherwise always engaged), Concerto Violini (now modified in Rollo, a drum, partially recovering a nineteenth-century accessory), Clarino, Trombe (recalling Tromba 8' bassi, Tromba 8' soprani and the pedal Trombone 8), Terzamano (superoctave coupler at manual, only from C3 to F5).
Currently the organ is playable, regularly used in liturgy and occasionally also for concerts; however, it is very dirty, with mistuning and irregularities in the voicing of the pipes. Despite this, it was considered appropriate to produce a version for Hauptwerk mainly for documentary purposes, to have evidence of the current state of conservation of the Costa Serina organ in the originality of its intonation and its mechanical-phonic structure.
The sampling was performed in various sessions in August 2011 and in summer 2014 using a microphone station in the balcony and one in the presbytery and obtaining two series of stereophonic samples combined in the sample set whose relative balance can be adjusted by the user. It is thus possible to move virtually from the position at the console to that in the presbytery with a very natural and realistic effect: the sound taking in the balcony guarantees freshness, attack precision and an excellent stereophonic image of the pipework while the one in the presbytery gives "environment" and breathe the phrasing.
The recording was taken at 96 kHz and 24 bit, reduced to 48 kHz at the end of the audio processing.
In addition to the noise of the bellows, all the mechanical noises of the keyboard, pedal and stops were sampled.
The set can be loaded in three distinct ways:
- "direct" version by enabling, in the loading screen in Hauptwerk, only the registers with the word "vicino" ("near", samples almost without ambient reverberation);
- "ambient" version, including multiple releases, enabling only the "lontano" ("far") registers;
- complete version with the possibility of mixing between the two sets of samples.
16 bit, "direct" version: 1.193 Mb
24 bit, "direct" version: 1.774 Mb
16 bit, "ambient" version: 2.112 Mb
24 bit, "ambient" version: 3.586 Mb
16 bit, complete: 2.767 Mb
24 bit, complete: 4.820 Mb
With the organological documentation of the current state of the original instrument as its purpose, it was considered appropriate - in this version - not to intervene excessively on the voicing problems, simply normalizing the tuning and radically correcting only some low pipes of 16 or 8 feet; therefore only some samples were retouched whose quality seemed excessively low (due to problems in the attack or instability in the steady-state sound, or tuning in the case of the "Due di Ripieno" stops that group two pipes per key) and detrimental to the enjoyment of the sample set.
Thus it happens that many of the defects of the original instrument are documented, as it is today: in any case they are quite contained and do not affect the enjoyment of the virtual copy.
Also because of the bad conditions of the Costa Serina organ, it was considered appropriate make the set available free of charge.
The graphical interface is made up of four tabs.
The facade of the Costa Serina organ with the balcony is reproduced.
The version for Hauptwerk 4.00 and higher reproduces as closely as possible the "consolle a finestra" ("window" console according to Italian terminology) with keyboard, pedal and all the stops commands whose behaviour has been modeled with the utmost care, in line with the philosophy of the project based on documentary applications as well as musical.
Each command on the screen reproduces exactly the behavior of the original console and can be controlled via MIDI.
For an intuitive learning of the functions of this tab, we recommend the use of the "REGISTRAZIONE" tab in combination with a double monitor: the operations performed will also be reproduced in the "CONSOLLE" tab.
Manual compass is C1-F5: the manual has short octave (C#, D#, F#, G# pulling the octave up except for the 16' and 8' Principals which have a complete first octave).
The pedal compass is C1-B2 but the division (as usual in the Italian nineteenth-century organs) has only 12 real notes C1-B1 and from C2 resumes C1.
The outermost of the two footlevers right of the pedalboard inserts all the stops of the right column ("Ripieno", Principal chorus of Great, including Contrabassi 16' at Pedal) maintaining, when disengaged, the stops already manually engaged.
The innermost footlever ("Combinazione Libera alla Lombarda", a kind of free combination pedal) engages all the stops previously prepared by clicking on the tip of each stop command ("manetta", as it is called in Lombardy). By doing this the stop's levers are slightly pulled out and set up to be engaged by the footlever, offering a very realistic reproduction of the mechanics behaviour of the Italian organs.
On the front of the pedalboard there is five iron pedals:
- "Distacco tasto al pedale". The pedal is normally hard-coupled with the keyboard: the function of the small footlever, unlike what normally happens, is to disengage the coupler when inserted.
- "Rullante". This pedal has two operating modes, depending on whether the Contrabassi 16 is engaged or not. When the stop is disengaged it operates four 4 ft wooden pipe which play together at a semitone distance (with the effect of the snare drum); ingaging the Contrabassi 16' adds the Thunder effect obtained by simultaneously operating all the 16' pipes.
- "Clarino 16 s." Engage the homonymous reed stop (more correctly called "Corno Inglese", English Horn)
- "Trombe". Recall Tromba 8' bassi, Tromba 8' soprani and the pedal Trombone 8'.
-"Terzamano". Coupler to the upper octave in the C3-F5 range ("soprani"): the lowering of the involved keys is also reproduced.
Special care has been taken in modeling the bellows with its windchests.
The original instrument is equipped with an imposing wooden frame with five large wedge-shaped bellows: their "cascade" operation has been faithfully reproduced and made visible on this screen which reproduces the start switch on the console, a stylized view of the bellows and the electric blower (which acts as a power light) and a pressure indicator.
When the set is loaded, the engine starts automatically and the bellows themselves fill up while the indicator displays the air pressure value for the largest windchest: you can turn off the engine by clicking anywhere on the page (and continue playing with the residual air until at full exhaustion).
A page has been prepared in which the stops in the "CONSOLLE" tab are reproduced in a more stylized and better readable way (and which can be used to learn how it works more intuitively).
Next to the stops, which reproduce the "manette" of the original console, there are small switches for the preparation of the "Combinazione Libera"; under the stops panel there are buttons that reproduce the footlevers on the console in the same order.
By clicking on the word "Legenda" at the bottom right, a color scale appears indicating the builder of each stops and the time of construction.
The page dedicated to Mixer and Options contains an explanatory panel of the various functions: from here you can choose the listening position, change the first octave of the keyboard making it chromatic for all registers and vary the beats of the two oscillating registers (Voce Umana and Voce Celeste).
The sample set for Hauptwerk can be downloaded for free via a link with an access key. To get it, send a email-request via the button below.
Warning: do not change the subject of the message! It depends on the correct sending of the automatic response containing the link to the sample-set.