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Marc Medwin
Fanfare, July 2020

In Rübsam’s hands, the Second Symphony takes on an entirely different character from the first, though it does demonstrate a similar unity achieved through the motivic and timbral diversity of narrative engagement. Rübsam makes a special moment out of the first movement’s opening gesture, the University of Chicago’s four-manual Skinner organ providing some beautifully orchestral colors in the accompaniment, and the swell at 1:29 is a masterstroke.

The time invested is well worth the many moments of excitement and repose on offer as the organ breathes, rumbles and roars its way through what I now hear as two late Romantic masterpieces. Bring on the second volume! © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review

Robert Delcamp
Fanfare, May 2020

Rübsam plays on the 4-manual, 132-rank 1928 EM Skinner in Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago, The recorded sound is very clear… © 2020 American Record Guide

Choir & Organ, March 2020

The first two symphonies sound very fine, with noble singing-tone from the foundations and clear, assertive reeds. © 2020 Choir & Organ

Classical Music Daily, February 2020

An auspicious start heralding great things to come. Sound and notes are first rate. © 2020 Classical Music Daily

David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2020

For sixty-four years Charles-Marie Widor was the organist of the Saint-Sulpice in Paris, during which time he was to create a new symphonic style of composition.

Today precious little of his copious and wide-ranging music is performed in the concert hall, and this project to record all ten of his Organ Symphonies is a rare enough venture. It is being performed on the Skinner instrument in the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago, an enormous pipe organ considered as an outstanding example of those created in North America during music’s late-Romantic era. It’s provenance comes within the lifetime of the composer, and was situated in an expansive acoustic, in some respects similar to the Saint-Sulpice, and that in itself does involve details in the writing being compromised. I say this at the outset of the review, for it has to be taken into account in the performances from Wolfgang Rubsam that capture the massive sounds Widor would have created in his own performances, and which many organists on disc have singularly failed to achieve. At the same time the quiet passages of the First Symphony, and particularly in the fourth movement Adagio, where music becomes ethereal, is perfectly handled. The other difficulty with the symphonies is the fact that in structure they are dissimilar to orchestral symphonies, the First being in seven movements, with a penultimate one that is described as a Meditation. Then scroll down to track 7, the grandiose finale, and here the Skinner organ does challenge Widor’s Cavaille-Coll organ, and equally in outgoing movements of the Second Symphony where Rubsam is mightily impressive. The sound quality is impressive in its dynamic range, with over eighty-four minutes ‘squeezed’ onto this first release. © 2020 David’s Review Corner

The Organ Club Journal, January 2020

The works are well known as is the organist. Super! © 2020 The Organ Club Journal

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