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MusicWeb International, April 2013

WALCHA, H.: Chorale Preludes, Vol. 1 (Rubsam) 8.572910
WALCHA, H.: Chorale Preludes, Vol. 2 (Rubsam) 8.572911
WALCHA, H.: Chorale Preludes, Vol. 3 (Disselhorst) 8.572912

Both Wolfgang Rübsam…and Delbert Disselhorst…are erstwhile pupils of Walcha, which gives their interpretations a stamp of authority and authenticity. Whilst Rübsam has made countless CDs for Naxos, this is Disselhorst’s debut. However, his comparative lack of recording experience is made up for by a very impressive CV of tours, projects and posts, and indeed there is no question of inferiority in his performance here. The instrument itself is barely a decade old and thus benefits from modern technology, giving a satisfyingly rounded tone in a sympathetic acoustic which has been very well captured by the engineers. Rudolf Zuiderveld’s notes from volume one are recycled for the later two, but rightly so, as they are interesting and well written. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Hannah Parry-Ridout
MusicWeb International, January 2013

The chorale prelude is a very expressive compositional tool which Rubsam is able to convey. The quieter chorales such as Mit Ernst, O Menschenkinder are expressively managed and the balance of the organ is spot-on. The louder and more virtuosic pieces Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott and O Heiland, reiss die Himmel auf display the instrument’s full power. The latter of these two deploys the principal chorus of this versatile instrument and creates an “authentic” sounding German timbre. Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott shows the organ’s more Atlantic tendencies with a very powerful pedal reed dominating the texture. The sound is exciting…

Overall, these varied pieces are skilfully crafted and artfully performed on a versatile and aurally pleasant instrument. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Chris Bragg
Choir & Organ, January 2013

Naxos presents the first of four CDs traversing the complete chorale preludes of Helmut Walcha…this CD is primarily characterised by a compelling symbiosis of player, music and organ. The organ steals the show…Walcha’s music allows Rubsam to explore every colour, and a more beautiful and convincing modern organ is scarcely imaginable. A fine introduction to the music of one of the 20th century’s most influential organists… © 2013 Choir & Organ

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2012

One of my earliest tasks as a record critic was covering Helmut Walcha’s ongoing complete edition of the organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach. So preoccupied in that formidable task, I did not even know that he was a composer, or at the outset of those reviews, that he had been blind since he was seventeen. He did, of course, have to learn everything he played, and became so immersed in Bach, he moved away from the late-Romantic era he had embraced in his younger years. It was those recordings that spread his name around the world, and many young students hastened to Frankfurt-am-Main to seek his guidance, including the soloist on this disc, Wolfgang Rubsam. The large quantity of Choral Preludes he had begun during the Second World War were intended as teaching pieces, their length of modest proportions, with a few hovering around the four minute mark, but more residing in the region of two minutes. Slow and fast, dark and light, he juxtapositioned them so as to make an on-going series that could be performed just as much as studied in the organ loft. I find his more sombre preludes, such as the first and the tenth included on this disc, to be of particular beauty, but there is much to enjoy throughout. In Rubsam we have a ready disciple of Walcha’s music, with a deep understanding of the genre. He performs on the relatively new organ completed in 2004 at the First Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Illinois, by the American company, John Brombaugh & Associates. A three manual instrument whose pipes have been fashioned to give a singing tone, its quality and church acoustic offer excellent clarity. A welcome release for all organ enthusiasts. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, November 2012

This world première recording by organist Wolfgang Rübsam…was captured on the 2004 John Brombaugh Organ Op. 35…An instrument perfectly suited in size and tonal quality for this music. It is the first in a projected complete cycle of all 4 volumes of these wonderful Chorale Preludes. If you are a pipe organ music enthusiast looking for something new that is at once a diversion from the norm and yet totally rooted in the last 400 years of music, the organ works of Helmut Walcha are a rewarding experience.

Naxos once again enriches our listening experience by presenting us with hitherto unheard music, and great music at that. © 2012 Classical Music Sentinel Read complete review

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