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Marc Medwin
Fanfare, January 2019

Rübsam’s musicianship is a protean thing, a vibrant and flexible convergence of tone and notation that takes both into account while affording neither supremacy. He makes the music dance when it should, as in the spritely Seventh Variation, which actually has all the vertical harmony one could wish to hear while, somehow, almost miraculously, each line maintains autonomy. © 2019 Fanfare Read complete review



Alex Baran
The WholeNote, December 2018

Wolfgang Rübsam has made his reputation chiefly as an organist but is also widely recognized as a fine pianist and harpsichordist. In his new recording Bach—Goldberg Variations (Naxos 8.573921 naxosdirect.com/items/bach-goldberg-variations-bwv-988-457587) he plays a lute-harpsichord. … The overall effect of all this is a soft and very mellow sound.

Rübsam excels at ornamentation in this work and takes every tasteful opportunity to inject turns and grace notes. …This unique Goldberg deserves attention. © 2018 The WholeNote Read complete review




Steven A Kennedy
Cinemusical, October 2018

The goal of Rubsam’s performance is to help us experience this music anew. The transparency of the instrument thus helps do this from the start. The best way to describe this is as if the work was being performed on a lute with its more distinct ability to iterate each pitch in the line. As such then, the ornamentations that occur also then help provide a clarity of line that is a hallmark of this music.

At nearly 80 minutes, this is a rather full album of variation technique and again the piece itself is one more for study than one you might sit and listen to, but it is consistently engrossing and Rubsam’s recording will certainly be one worth adding to the collection of Bach aficionados.

Sound quality is quite beautiful and the performance, recorded at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, Indiana, is captured well on this release. © 2018 Cinemusical Read complete review



William Yeoman
Gramophone, October 2018

This recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations on the same superb instrument, built by Rübsam’s friend Keith Hill, was not unexpected. But it is surprising nonetheless. And quite wonderful.

It’s a beautiful, intimate, mellow sound, resonant yet with each note decaying quickly, recorder-warm rather than lute-pungent, which Rübsam exploits to the full. © 2018 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Jerobear
Review Corner, September 2018

This not just a different version of Variations; it is, the sleeve notes imply, the one Bach wanted you to hear, played as it is on a lute harpsichord (one of only a few in existence, built by Keith Hill) at a sensible tempo.

We doubt anyone would give you this as an introduction to the Variations but it’s clearly an interesting and enjoyable piece of music in its own right. Out now on Naxos, 8573921. © 2018 Review Corner Read complete review




Blair Sanderson
AllMusic.com, September 2018

…Rübsam’s unerring instincts and consummate artistry make this performance much greater than a gimmick, and listeners who prefer hearing the variations on a harpsichord will find the Lautenwerk to be a refreshing source for new ideas and expressions. Highly recommended. © 2018 AllMusic.com Read complete review





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