The village of Serina is one of the most important centres of the Serina valley, a tributary of the Brembana valley: the parish church of Santissima Annunziata has, in addition to a very rich artistic endowment in the figurative sphere, a valuable organ built in 1791 by Andrea Luigi and Giuseppe II Serassi.
Since the Venetian domination (which lasted from 1428 to 1799) the town of Serina had a preeminent administrative role compared to the other communities in the valley and was also a well-developed cultural center (painters such as Palma the Younger are of Serinese origin); and the parish church was soon enriched with many important artistic works.
The first organ was built by Giovan Battista Stagnoli in 1590; this instrument would later be replaced by another, built by Giovanni Rogantino from Valtellina in the 17th century. The Rogantino organ underwent extensive maintenance in 1744 (by Giovanni Antonio Bossi) and in 1751-52 by Angelo Bossi, after being dismantled due to the expansion of the church; on that occasion the main windchest was renewed and the number of stops increased.
The pipes of the Rogantino organ - including the Bossi additions - were later re-used in large part by the Serassi in the 1791 reconstruction; the Serassi Brothers, descendants of Andrea Luigi and Giuseppe II, intervened again in 1827 with a substantial reform in the Italian Romantic-Risorgimento style.
In 1844 it was the turn of Giovanni Zonca and Camillo Guglielmo Bianchi, Serassi students, who carried out extensive maintenance works (the Corno Inglese 16ft is attributed to them at the Great Organ); in 1859 Adeodato Bossi took care of the maintenance with the addition of the current Clarinetto soprano 8ft to the Echo.
Serina's organ was later partially reformed by the Roberti of Bergamo in the "Riforma ceciliana" style, in unknown years of the early twentieth century.
Between 1981 and 1986 the historic instrument was finally restored by Francesco Zanin of Codroipo under the supervision of Oscar Mischiati.
The identification of a restoration line went through various hypotheses, including extrapolation of the Rogantino material to use it in a counter organ to be built in the balcony opposite the Serassi, which would have been suitably integrated with new material, to finally arrive at the reversal of the situation of 1791, sacrificing all the later stratifications (including the nineteenthcentury Serassi).
This restitution, however, was only partially implemented and not without inconsistencies: the pedals maintained the twentieth-century 8ft Violone (the zinc pipes have attached "frein harmonique" (harmonic frill) devices, the Timballi remained in twelve tones (while in 1791 there were four, C-D-G-A as usual at the time) and also the situation of the reed registers is far from clear, especially with regards to the two "Cornamusa en chamade", the Clarinetto soprano in the Echo organ and the Corno Inglese 16ft in the Great Organ.
Organ built in 1791 by Andrea Luigi and Giuseppe II Serassi, with partial re-use of the pipework from the previous 17th century Rogantino organ; restored in 1981-86 by Francesco Zanin and son of Codroipo (Udine, northeast Italy).
Classical Italian "a finestra" ("in the shape of a window", with reference to its position in a central recess) console: two manuals of 54 keys (Do1-Fa5) for 50 real notes to the Great organ (upper keyboard; Cs, Ds, Fs, Gs recall the octave above) and 42 to the Echo organ (first octave hard-coupled to the upper octave). Bassi-soprani split between B2 and C3. Pedal board with 18 keys for 12 real notes (the second octave returns to the first); two further pedals for Tuono and Terzamano.
There are knob registers for the Echo organ, and "manette alla lombarda" (notched levers) in two columns to the right of the console for the Great organ and the pedals.
|Echo organ||Great organ and Pedal,||Great organ and Pedal,|
|inner column||outer column|
|PRINCIPALE 8ft (C2-F5)||CAMPANINI (C3-F5)||PRINCIPALE BASSI 16ft (C1-B2)|
|OTTAVA BASSI 4ft||CORNI DOLCI SOPR. 8ft||PRINCIPALE I BASSI 8ft (C1-B2)|
|OTTAVA SOPR. 4ft||CORNETTO I SOPR. VIII-XII (4-2 2/3ft)||PRINCIPALE I SOPR. 8ft (C3-F5)|
|QUINTADECIMA 2ft||CORNETTO II SOPR. XV-XVII (2-1 3/5ft)||PRINCIPALE II BASSI 8ft|
|DECIMANONA 1 1/3ft||FAGOTTO BASSI 8ft||PRINCIPALE II SOPR. 8ft|
|VIGESIMASECONDA 1ft||TROMBA SOPR. 8ft||OTTAVA BASSI 4ft|
|DUE DI RIPIENO 2/3-1/2ft||VIOLONCELLO BASSI 4ft||OTTAVA SOPR. 4ft|
|SESQUIALTERA B. (1 3/5ft)||CORNO INGLESE SOPR. (16ft)||DUODECIMA 2 2/3ft|
|CORNETTO SOPR. (2' - 1'3/5ft)||OBOE SOPR. 8ft||QUINTADECIMA 2ft|
|FLAUTO IN VIII SOPR. (4ft)||CORNAMUSA BASSI 2ft (en chamade)||DECIMANONA 1 1/3ft|
|FLAUTO IN XII 2 2/3ft||CORNAMUSA SOPR. 8ft (en chamade)||VIGESIMASECONDA 1ft|
|CLARINO SOPR. 8ft||FLUTTA SOPR. 8ft||VIGESIMASESTA 2/3ft|
|VIOLA BASSI 4ft||FLAUTO IN VIII 4ft (C1-F5)||VIGESIMANONA 1/2ft|
|VIOLONCELLO SOPR. 16ft||VOCE UMANA SOPR. 8ft||DUE DI RIPIENO XXIX - XXXIII|
|VIOLONE 8ft (Pedal)||DUE DI RIPIENO XXXIII - XXXVI|
|TROMBONI 8ft (Pedal)||SESQUIALTERA BASSI (1'1/3 - 4 /5ft, C1-B3)|
|CLARONE 4ft (Pedal)||SESQUIALTERA SOPR. (2'2/3 - 1' 3/5ft, C4-F5)|
|TIMBALLI IN TUTTI I TONI (Pedal)||CONTRABBASSI E OTTAVE 16ft (Pedal)|
The console includes three pedal levers for Ripieno Echo, Combinazione alla Lombarda and Ripieno Grand Organo; a metal pedal above the pedalboard couples the two manuals. The pedalboard is hard-coupled to the upper keyboard (the "Grand' Organo" or Great).
The Principale Bassi 16ft at the Great organ is to be understood as a sort of double bass on the keyboard and was altered during the restoration by eliminating the previously existing soprano section. With the restoration so-called "ritornelli grossi" (repeating pipe arrangements) were introduced for the Quintadecima, Vigesimaseconda and Vigesimanona of the Great organ, which consist of a jump to the lower octave at Do2 - in practice the Quintadecima thus becomes Ottava (2ft to 4ft), the Vigesimaseconda becomes Quintadecima (1ft to 2ft) and Vigesimanona becomes Vigesimaseconda (1/2ft to 1ft). The Corni Dolci soprani, of 16ft before the restoration, was brought to the eighteenth-century 8ft tonal range; the seventeenth-century Flauto in VIII is whole and real from C1 (normally in this type of organs the first octave of the 4ft Flute is borrowed from the Octave 4ft). The Sesquialtera at Great has a singular split at C4 and is recalled by the pedal of the Ripieno Grand Organo. The Voce Umana soprani is tuned slightly flat.
The pedal of the Echo organ Ripieno, when disengaged, also disengages all the stops previously engaged manually, with the exception of the Principale 8ft.
In spite of a restoration not being free from contradictory and sometimes questionable choices regarding the elimination of nineteenth-century material, the organ of Serina remains a valuable example of a Lombard Baroque instrument, an immediate predecessor of what will be the classic Serassian romantic organ (one of which of the most famous specimens is that of the basilica of Santa Maria di Campagna in Piacenza recently sampled by Sonus Paradisi) and endowed with sonic resources with a marked personality which made him consider definitely worthy of reproduction for Hauptwerk.
The sampling was carried out in three sessions in August 2012 using a single microphone station in the organ balcony with a very "fresh" yield and a clear sound image, which fully reflects the personality characteristics of the individual stops.
The recording position has privileged the direct sound very much compared to the ambient acoustics present: the set is very "dry" and is suitable for use with the impulse convolution reverberation implemented in Hauptwerk V. The publication of a surround version similar to what is also proposed for the Costa Serina set is planned.
The recording was made at 96 kHz and 24 bits, reduced to 48 kHz after processing.
In addition to the noise of the bellows and wind, all the mechanical noises of keyboards, pedals and stops were sampled; three levels of releases have been taken up for the modelling of the ambient acoustics, according to the most stringent standard, and for many notes more attacks have been taken up where there were significant differences in the chiff of the pipes.
16 bit, all sustain, all release samplesabout 3000 Mb
20 bit (24 bit aligned), all sustain, all release samples: about 5400 Mb
24 bit, all sustain, all release samples: about 7000 Mb
The excellent condition of the Serassi organ is also reflected in the reproduction for Hauptwerk: there are very few cases where it was imperative to correct the pronunciation of the sound.
The stereo set of Serina's organ is available as a free version: in addition to the faithful documentation of the original instrument, this publication is the first ever to offer, on an Italian historical organ, extensions that allow its use for almost all the classical repertoire.
We believe it interesting that this novelty is given on our part the widest and free possibility of diffusion, hoping that it will find positive feedback even among the most demanding musicians.
The Hauptwerk graphical interface consists of a total of four tab screens.
The 'ORGANO' tab is a reproduction of the facade of the Serina organ, also showing the balcony designed by the Lombard architect Antonio Caniana. At the centre of the elegant pipe facade is the F1 of the Principale bassi 16ft pipe rank.
Hauptwerk version 4.00 and higher reproduces as closely as possible the "consolle a finestra" (the "console window" according to Italian terminology) with the keyboards, pedals and all related recording devices: functionality has been modelled with utmost care conform to the philosophy - based on the project's intent to apply documentary as well as musical standards.
Each screen command closely reproduces the behaviour of the original console, and these can be controlled via MIDI: the keyboard, pedals, stop levers and foot levers.
For intuitive learning of the screen functions, we recommend the use of the "REGISTRAZIONE" (Registration) tab view in combination with a double monitor: the operations performed will also be reproduced in the "CONSOLLE" (Console) tab view.
The manual compass is C1-F5 and the pedal range is C1-F2 ; the Great (upper) manual has a first short octave (first C#, D#, F#, G# pulling one octave higher) and the Echo (lower) manual is sounding only from C2, having its first octave hard-coupled to the second.
The pedalboard has only 12 real notes C1-B1 (from C2 resumes C1) and it's hard-coupled to the Great; there are two accessory keys for Terzamano (a kind of superoctave coupler at Great, only from C3 to F5) and Tuono (a Thunder, obtained with the simultaneous sound of 4 wooden pipes in the 16 ft range).
Knob stops for the Echo Organ and "manette alla lombarda" for Great and Pedal are carefully modelled in graphics and behaviour, including the so called "Combinazione Libera alla Lombarda" (see below).
The outermost of the three footlevers to the right of the pedalboard inserts all the stops of the right column ("Ripieno Grand Organo", the Principal chorus of Great, including the Sesquialtera and Contrabassi 16ft at the Pedals) maintaining, when disengaged, the stops already manually engaged; the intermediate one ("Combinazione Libera alla Lombarda", a kind of combination pedal) engages the Great stops previously prepared by clicking on the tip of each stop command of the Great and Pedals.
By doing this the stop's levers are slightly pulled out and set up to be engaged by the "Combinazione Libera alla Lombarda" pedal, offering a very realistic reproduction of the mechanics behaviour of Italian organs.
Finally, the innermost pedal recalls the Ripieno of the Echo organ: in the original instrument, if disengaged, it disengages too all the stops manually engaged, with the exception of the Principale 8ft. We thought it appropriate to modify this behaviour (not original and introduced with the restoration of 1981) so that in the sample set for Hauptwerk also the stops previously engaged - similarly to what happens for the Grand Organ - remain engaged.
On the front of the pedal board is a metal foot lever to couple the Echo and Great organ (lower to upper manual); the pedals are hard-coupled to the upper keyboard (Great organ).
A tab page has been prepared in which the recording commands in the "CONSOLLE" tab are reproduced in a more stylized and better readable way (which can be used to learn how it works more intuitively).
Next to the stops, in form of comfortable rectangular buttons, small switches are placed for the preparation of the "Combinazione Libera alla Lombarda" (for the Great and Pedal stops).
From this page it is possible to enable the extensions, which concern both the compass of keyboards and pedals and the enrichment of the disposition in the direction of the "Romantic-Risorgimento" style typical of the Italian nineteenth century.
The additions to the original arrangement of the organ of Serina are marked with the abbreviation "ext" and have been obtained, as regards the sounding stops, only from samples already present in the set.
In the "OPZIONI" (Options) section, at the bottom left, there are the commands that allow to:
- enable the extensions of the keyboard and pedalboard compass (the two keyboards are normalized to an extension of 54 real notes; the pedalboard, in addition to being enlarged to 27 real notes, is released from being hard-coupled to the Great)
- use the normal standard of unison coupler
- have Principale soprani 16ft engaged by the Ripieno footlever
- enable the effect of Band with Bass Drum, Plate and Snare typical of the nineteenth-century Serassian organs ("COLLEGA GRANCASSA" button: if enabled, adds the effect to the original TUONO)
- normalize the tonal range of Quintadecima, Vigesimaseconda and Vigesimanona to the Great eliminating the "ritornelli grossi" and keeping the normal Italian break-back.
Much care has been taken in modeling the bellows with its windchests.
The original instrument is equipped with two cuneiform bellows, restored in 1981: their "cascade" operation has been faithfully reproduced and it's visible on this screen that reproduces the power switch in the console (which acts as a start) and a stylized view of the bellows with a pressure gauge.
When the set is loaded, the blower starts automatically and the bellows themselves fill up while the indicator displays the value of the air pressure to the main windchest: it's possible to switch off the blower by clicking anywhere on the page (and continue playing with the residual air until at full exhaustion).
As in the original instrument, the presence of only two cuneiform bellows makes the wind very "alive" and sensitive, with a feeling of great naturalness.
Warning: Youtube compression inevitably brutalizes the audio quality, which is much lower than the real one of the set. Consider the videos only as explanatory of the functionality of the set.
Original version (live performance)
Extended version (MIDI performances)
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.