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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

Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, March 2013

As in Volume 1, the organ used in this recording fits the size of the music very well, and reveals its true voice without ever coloring it. Organist Wolfgang Rübsam once again finds and exposes the root of each piece, and through proper registration and very musical comportment, allows each one to grow and reveal its flower. © 2013 Classical Music Sentinel Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, December 2012

Helmut Walcha…wrote so many chorale preludes for solo organ, Naxos is planning to release four volumes. Judging by Chorale Preludes, Volume 2…with Walcha student Wolfgang Rubsam at the keys, this will be well worth the effort.

The Volume Two bears up very well after many hearings. Rubsam does the music full justice and the spectacular sound will give your ears and your system a good workout. © 2012 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2012

Helmut Walcha’s 25 Choral Preludes released on Naxos last month were published in 1954, and were followed by a further twenty in 1963 described as Volume 2. To recap on my review, Walcha was a blind German organist and composer who lived through most of the 20th century where he built a career that also placed him as a major teacher of the instrument. He was the first organist to place on disc the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach, and though in his younger years he had embraced the late-Romantic era, his own works were dominated by Bach’s influence. The first twenty-five Choral Preludes were designed as teaching tools, and while this second book of twenty runs through the gamut of organ techniques, they offer a more readily attractive concert work. Calling on a wider range of emotions, the Ninth—one of the most extended preludes—is a solemn and sad piece, to contrast with the quirky and short Tenth, and from therein Walcha had moments when he looked at Bach from a 20th century standpoint. Indeed if you are coming to Walcha, start with this disc where his use of sonorities is quite fascinating and at times taking in a fleeting glimpse of the modern French school. The soloist, Wolfgang Rubsam, was one of his former pupils, giving these performances a degree of inner knowledge of Walcha’s style of performance, and we must take it that the composer loved elongated final notes.  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 fashioned to give a singing tone, its quality and church acoustic offer excellent clarity.

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