instruments, because they're too loud or because they're located in a
noisy environment, are impossible to sample. Such was apparently the
case of the organ housed in the small Temple des Eaux-Vives, a
Protestant church in Geneva, and built by Gerhard GrenzingI. It is one
of the most interesting contemporary instruments in French-speaking
One of the organ's users, eager to play at home, nevertheless decided to produce a sample himself, following specific and detailed instructions and employing advanced equipment. After several apparently successful tests, he managed to just do that. The sample set he produced, while technically impeccable, could not be used owing to the loud background traffic noise surrounding the church at all times, even in the middle of the night – the Temple des Eaux-Vives is located on one of Geneva's busiest roads, just where cars shift down as they approach the descent leading to the bridge over the Rhone.
The recordings would probably have remained on our user's hard drive had not Takáts Augustine (Augustine's Virtual Organ), to whom he had turned for help and advice, offered to take up the challenge. The result is brilliant. Augustine de-noised the softest stops discreetly and efficiently – albeit rather drastically – concentrating on an almost dry stereo version composed of the samples recorded near the organ case – an effort worthy of a micro-surgeon that paid off. The result is a remarkable sample set that is very close to the sound of the original instrument: precise, clear, as agreeable to play as it is to hear. Using that dry version, Augustine then applied his skills to produce a natural-sounding 4-channel version that is slightly more reverberant and that balances the dry and wet channels.
The organ is a 26-stop German neo-Baroque instrument (13 stops on the main manual, 8 stops on the Positif with a wonderful tremblant, and 5 stops on the pedalboard). It beguiles listeners with its lilting Flutes, singing Principal stops, strong mixtures and Reeds, and a gorgeous Cornet. All the tremblant stops of the Positif were recorded and are perfectly restituted. The instrument features a Spanish-style split Positif keyboard, with the choice of the split between two notes. This feature was scrupulously respected by Augustine.
The mechanical tracker action is precise, with clear attacks. The church's very small size and the materials used to build it limit the amount of natural reverberation, so the relatively dry sample set perfectly replicates the sound produced by the real instrument and is particularly suitable for study or use in a naturally more reverberant location. It is the church's very clear acoustics that prompted the Geneva Conservatoire to select it for certain exams. The Conservatoire also gives many concerts there.