Reviews & Reactions: Highlight Reel
“Kraybill is easily one of Kansas City’s –- and the organ world’s –- treasures. At times the use of the organ was so subtle that it felt subconscious rather than heard, and then other times the effect is reversed: the crash of the chord so completely consuming that little else filtered through to comprehend. It’s heartening to hear a performance like this: new material performed with the same confidence of familiar works, standard repertoire performed with thrilling enthusiasm, the concert experience renewed and vibrant.” - Libby Hansen
“... local organ superstar ... Jan never ceases to wow and amaze the audience whenever she performs.” - Patrick Neas
— Kansas City Star
“On 'The Orchestral Organ,' Dr. Jan Kraybill performs organ transcriptions of material by Sibelius, Holst, Wagner, Verdi, Barber, and others, and while many of the works are familiar, they assume vivid new life when presented in this organ-only context. … Representative of the album are the treatments of Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Sibelius’s Finlandia; being so well-known, they offer case studies for how effectively the transcriptions enable the listener to experience familiar material in a new way. … Regardless of whether the material is familiar or not, Kraybill faithfully adheres to the works’ transcriptions, her primary focus on honouring the material as written and staying true in her performances to the character and dynamics of the original creations.”
“CD Review: "From Jan Kraybill at Helzberg Hall to an André Previn box set, listen to these albums 'The Orchestral Organ' is a stunner. Imagine some of classical music’s most powerful orchestral works performed on Helzberg Hall’s Casavant organ. If you think that sounds good on paper, wait until you actually hear the recording. Kraybill, who is also the conservator of the Casavant organ, is a one-woman orchestra whose renditions of Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Verdi and Sibelius will leave you slack-jawed. ... 'The Orchestral Organ' will knock the socks off any music lover, even those who claim they don’t like organ music.” - Patrick Neas
“'The Orchestral Organ' builds on…broad, well-established foundations. And, in the best tradition, this programme is clearly designed to intrigue, entertain and, quite possibly, educate. There are some familiar transcriptions among the first recordings and a world premiere. … Kraybill [is] as beguiling as one could wish. … A largely successful programme, studded with some real gems; fine playing and sound, too.” - Dan Morgan
“I wanted to send a special thank you for sharing your extraordinary talents at the Mother's Day Music from the Heart concert. It was a marvelous performance and the selections were quite beautiful. ... Thank you again for a sensational show. We are fortunate to have the benefit of your talent and expertise.” - Julia Irene Kauffman
“CD review: Kraybill's performance has a nice balance of verve and control. The overall impression is of joy and pleasure in the music, which flows from her understanding and touch. Her selections allow her to explore various moods and emotions, which is always quite pleasant. The progression of the album shows a sound sense of movement. ... this is a truly glorious recording, with Jan Kraybill providing stellar performances. ... one that I will listen to again and again.” - David W. Robinson, CD Review: Brief Impressions: Jan Kraybill, 'The Orchestral Organ'
“CD review: I listened to the 5.1 rendering of these tracks and the sound was thrilling ... the performances are precise and committed, and Reference Recording has done their usual audiophile magic. ... Track selection is varied, with classical standards and a more contemporary work like the Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber. I thought it worked nicely for organ. I also especially enjoyed the Sibelius Finlandia, which was stirring and joyful. Of particular note — this release contains many “first recordings”, as well as the world premier of Řezníček’s Praeludium and Chromatic Fugue. Musically and technically this disc is worth a listen, and frequent replays.” - Mel Martin, CD Review: 'The Orchestral Organ'
“Pure joy -- pure music -- pure fascination.”
— audience member
“CD review: This is organ playing at its finest ... I cannot think of a better way to introduce listeners to what was surely the golden age of French music for the organ. Perhaps not since Johann Sebastian Bach, has this “king of instruments” been better served by one nation and its composers than has France and its illustrious composers who wrote marvelous pieces for the organ. Of course, it takes an extraordinary artist to get this point across, and I am happy to report that Reference Recordings has surely identified such a performer. Coupled with the expected excellent RR sonics, I would recommend this disc for not only lovers of organ music but of great music, period.” - Lawrence D. Devoe, CD Review: 'Organ Polychrome'
“CD Review: ... Jan Kraybill ... tackles Widor’s daunting structures with aplomb. ... The organ’s tonal subtlety and range of colours are very much in evidence ... her playing is always tasteful and proportionate. ... Kraybill’s apt registrations and general keyboard wizardry turns her into something of a Prospero figure, very much in command of all that she surveys. ... Kraybill's playing is always refined, and she brings out the music’s inner voices with ease and good humour.... the joy that peals forth in the final seconds is a perfect metaphor for this recital as a whole; a triumph for all concerned. Only once before have I encountered an organ recording worthy of the term 'a perfect storm’ ... Frankly, these two albums blow all others into the proverbial weeds. Pure magic; my store of enchanted objects has just increased by one.” - Dan Morgan, Review: Recording of the Month
— MusicWeb International