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Wolfgang Rübsam (Piano)

Bach Keyboard Recordings from Wolfgang Rübsam, Part 2

K-4

J.S. Bach: Partitas No. 1, BWV 825 · No. 2 BWV 826

Partitas Nos. 1-2 BWV 825-826 [21:33, 24:23]
Prelude and Fughetta in G major BWV 902 [8:14]
Capriccio on the Departure of a Beloved Brother BWV 992 [11:04]

Wolfgang Rübsam (Piano)

Naxos

May 1992

CD / TT: 65:14

Recorded at Orum Hall, Valparaiso, Indiana, USA.
Buy this album at: Amazon.com

Donald Satz wrote (July 13, 2001):
Summary for the Collector on the Prowl for Greatness: This is it

I found Rübsam's disc in Part 1 to be quite a revelation. What I had heard from him in the past was not particularly rewarding, but I was thoroughly taken with his performances of the first two French Suites and the two other works on the recording.

I'm pleased to report that this second disc is even more to my liking than the first. The Partitas have a little more meat to them than the French Suites, and Rübsam takes full advantage of the greater intensity.

To my mind, great performances all have one commmon thread; they make the listener feel that there's been a connection made between the souls of the artist and the composer. Performers of Bach such as Tureck, Gulda, and Leonhardt give me this feeling. Rübsam is increasingly leading me to place him in such company. Each of these artists has a personal and unique vision which takes shape after searching for the core of Bach's music. Their interpretations are different from the norm, and it's not for sake of being different or garnering attention and a niche to own. Integrity is a very important component of masterful performances.

What makes Rübsam a candidate for such lofty territory? Just listen to the beginning of the Praeludium in the B flat major; each note is struck at the right moment with the perfect degree of weight and nuance. Rübsam makes it a softly and deeply poignant opening fanfare. His hesitations in the Allemande add to the emotional juices, and I usually don't care for hesitations as they tend to damage momentum. The Courante's first theme is joyous, sparkling, and full of life. The improvisatory nature of his Sarabande is illuminating; Rübsam does veer toward emotional over-kill a couple of times but it's of very short duration. His Menuet series is unique; Menuet I is always questioning the direction being taken, and II is ceremonial and pensive at the same time. The concluding Giga has great momentum and excitement.

The Sinfonia of the C minor Partita is fantastic music with a sublime Andante framed by a grave and a fugue. I would have liked the chords in Rübsam's Grave to be more sustaining, but the Andante is filled with subtle mystery and foreboding and the Fugue's beginning with both hands playing staccato is treasureable in its interplay. The melancholy and urgency in the Allemande would surely melt the hardest person's heart. The Courante is very slow and much more expressive than in most versions. Perhaps Rübsam's best performance in the Suite is his Sarabande where all his best qualities come to center stage; this reading is one not to be missed. The Rondeaux is excellent, although the concluding Capriccio does not receive my affection; it's too slow and undernourished. I always feel that this Capriccio needs strong drive and at least a hint of wildness.

The Prelude and Fughetta in G major is an early writing of the G major Prelude and Fugue from Bach's WTC II. Rübsam plays it excellently with a very transparent and delicate touch.

The Capriccio in B flat major is one of my favorite individual Bach keyboard works. In the opening Andante, Rübsam beautifully captures the mixture of sadness and dignity of the funeral theme. The central Adagissimo is treated with an intense sadness, and the remainder of the work is loaded with heroism and concludes with a wonderfully regal send-off. Rübsam's is now my peferred piano verson of the Capriccio.

Don's Conclusions: This Rübsam disc is an essential acqusition. You get two commanding Partitas, the best Capriccio on the market, and an interesting building-block of the G major Prelude & Fugue from the WTC II. By way of reference, a liking for Gould, Gulda, or Tureck should insure a great reception for Rübsam.

 

Feedback to the Review

Mark Zimmerman wrote (July 15, 2001):
[To Donald Satz] How is the sound on this Naxos Bach disc? I have Rübsam's Art of the Fugue and there is so much reverb from the acoustic that it hides the lines of the music.

Donald Satz wrote (July 16, 2001):
[To Mark Zimmerman] The sound is excellent. Rübsam's Art of Fugue is on organ, and I agree with Mark about the sound on that set. Rübsam, not being an artist who places much priority on momentum, needs to have the lines of the music clearly heard; it's part of his trade. Rest assured that the disc in question provides those lines without impediments.

 

Partitas BWV 825 830: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Partitas - Anderszewski [McElhearn] | Partitas - Anderszewski [Satz] | Partitas - Corolan & Kipnis | Partitas - Feller 1 | Partitas - Parmentier | Partitas - Rangell | GV & Partitas - Karl Richter | Partitas – Roberts | Partitas – Sager | Partitas - Steuerman | Partitas - Suzuki [McElhearn] | Partitas - Suzuki [Henderson] | Partitas - Troeger | Partitas - Verlet | Partitas - Weiss | Rübsam - Part 2 | Rübsam - Part 3

Wolfgang Rübsam: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Bach Organ Works from Wolfgang Rübsam, Part 1 | Bach Organ Works from Wolfgang Rübsam, Part 2 | Bach Organ Works from Wolfgang Rübsam, Part 3 | Bach Keyboard Recordings from Wolfgang Rübsam, Part 1 | Bach Keyboard Recordings from Wolfgang Rübsam, Part 2 | Bach Keyboard Recordings from Wolfgang Rübsam, Part 3 | Bach Keyboard Recordings from Wolfgang Rübsam, Part 4

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Last update: żOctober 13, 2006 ż13:16:28