'Estonian Organs' series revived after 32 years

"Paide Church Organ." Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

Estonian music professionals resurrected the "Estonian Organs" album series, which was originally released between 1970 and 1990. The first album, "Paide Church Organ," was recorded and released in October of this year by organist and music professor Andres Uibo. The second album, "Niguliste Church Organ," will be released in early 2023. The series consists of 15 albums in total.

The first album contains all five organ works by Ludwig van Beethoven, along with compositions by Max Reger and Rudolf Tobias.

"The Paide organ is extraordinary. You don't need to be worried if the name Kriisa is mentioned; it's a guarantee that you will go there and it will play. It's a fantastic instrument," Andres Uibo said.

Hardo Kriisa, a third-generation descendant of the Kriisa family that has been building organs in Estonia for over 130 years, keeps an eye on the Paide organ, which was built in 1933 by his grandfather Tannil Kriisa.

"Some of the organ registration is old Kessler's, but it was later expanded by my grandfather," Hardo Kriisa said, adding that after almost a hundred years the organ whistles are good.

The sound of the Paide church organ was recorded using the world-famous DSD (Direct Stream Digital) recording technology, which was used in Estonia for the first time.

"Everybody still has analogue ears — luckily we don't have any ZIPs in our heads — and the organ is an instrument that makes a real analogue sound," the project's sound director Priit Kuulberg said.

Because of the technology, the work has to be recorded in one continuous take, and this is how a vinyl of the Paide church organ was recorded in two hours last November.

Aular Soone, the sound engineer who released the vinyl, said that the album was not made with a commercial goal in mind, but rather to preserve and record Estonian culture.

The organ of St. Nicholas' Church (Niguliste kirik) has now been recorded as well, and the vinyl will be available early next year. The organs of Vigala and Kuresaare will be next; a total of 15 organs will be recorded all across Estonia.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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