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Benjamin Katz
American Record Guide, November 2012

I have never before heard the Goldberg Variations as Rattya plays them. His creative energy is remarkable, and he brings Bach’s music to life in a way that is rarely heard on any instrument. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review

John Terauds
Musical Toronto, July 2012

To a purist it might seem like a bad joke to pair an accordionist, the musical world’s quaint party animal, with Bach’s 1741 Goldberg Variations, one of the pinnacles of Western keyboard music. But this new album, far from being a joke, is a revelation.

Young Finnish accordion master Janne Rättyä has not only mastered Bach’s challenging Aria and the 30 variations on its bass line, but raises this music to a higher plane with the natural expressive abilities of his instrument.

At the hands of someone as accomplished as Rättyä, the accordion becomes an expressive chorus with distinct timbres from soprano, alto, tenor and bass. © 2012 Musical Toronto Read complete review

Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle, July 2012

Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations played on the accordion? It sounds like a gimmick, but the reality is completely different: This is a richly beautiful and often revelatory treatment of a familiar masterpiece. The Finnish virtuoso Janne Rättyä treads a splendid line between innovation and reverence, keeping intact the essential elements of the score—the clarity of Bach’s counterpoint, the swell and fall of his melodic writing—while still finding wonderful new angles in the transformed setting…an amply rewarding variant. © 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Read complete review

Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), July 2012

It is time to lay aside the prejudices concerning the accordion and its reputation as mainly a folk instrument. The splendid musicality of Janne Rättyä shows how expressive and delicate the accordion can be and how it can do justice to an iconic keyboard work such as the Goldberg Variations. © 2012 WFMT (Chicago) Read complete review

Elissa Poole
The Globe and Mail, July 2012

The Goldberg Variations have been played on plenty of instruments Bach never had in mind, including the piano, string quartet and the marimba. Here it is on accordion, and while we don’t often laugh when we listen to classical music, I like to think it’s something that should be encouraged. Thus the first wheezing phrases of the aria elicit a chuckle, but one soon gets over the strangeness of the sound. Certainly there are near-ludicrous moments—the snarling trills in the bass, say, and several bumptious, staccato passages that sound like merry-go-round music. But the slow movements in minor mode are unexpectedly moving, some of the more virtuosic movements are gleefully dazzling, and the potpourri of folksongs in the last variation sound absolutely right. © 2012 The Globe and Mail, June 2012

The eternal quest for the unusual sometimes takes performers and recording companies into distinctly odd areas—some of which, in a great surprise to listeners…turn out very well indeed…performing Bach on the accordion seems well-nigh sacrilegious—until one hears Rättyä’s knowing, nuanced and quite beautiful playing. The sound of the instrument does take some getting used to, although less than one might expect, since Rättyä produces as much delicacy from his accordion as expressiveness…Rättyä brings forth the fullness of what is essentially a wind instrument when that is appropriate. Above all, this Goldberg Variations is a musically convincing one, and of course that is ultimately what matters, no matter from what instrument the notes emerge. © 2012 Read complete review

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