“Such a talent is born but once a century”
SATURDAY NIGHT MAGAZINE CANADA
"Words on paper are a flimsy medium with which to describe the eye-opening power of yesterday's performance. Put simply, Varnus is a monster talent, every bit as stimulating and individual as the late Glenn Gould. That's not a name to be invoked lightly, but Varnus, like Gould, has more than virtuosity and interpretive strength, he has the rare talent of being able to make us hear his instrument in a new way, as though he were re-inventing it on the spot."
THE GLOBE AND MAIL, Canada’s National Newspaper
May 8, 1986
“In a world too long dominated by organists with little imagination, little talent, and little technique, Xaver Varnus, 22, who has gobs of all three, should make friends quickly.”
THE MONTREAL GAZETTE
August 20, 1986
“Xaver Varnus earned the ultimate accolade as the Horowitz of the organ for his lightning speed and imaginative phrasing at the keyboards.”
May 22, 1987
“No one who heard this performance could doubt his essential qualities as a musician. He knows what Bach is trying to say, and he delivers the message through a medium that is far more familiar to modern ears than the soft-spoken tracker-action instrument of Bach’s time.”
THE MONTREAL GAZETTE
May 25, 1987
“Varnus is only 23 years old, and it is difficult to imagine how he has managed to develop such fleet fingers, such musical insight and such skill in communication in so short a time.”
THE MONTREAL GAZETTE
October 19, 1987
"Varnus possesses a breathtaking virtuosity: his fingers run across the keyboards at breakneck speed".
LA PRESSE MONTREAL
May 25, 1988
COBOURG DAILY STAR
April 17, 1989
"Xaver Varnus has been called the Horowitz of the organ (New York Times), or contra-riwise the Paganini of the organ. And even the Glenn Gould of the organ. But he is none of the above. Instead, he is plainly the Xaver Varnus of the organ, a self-assured prodigy with a mind of his own."
THE TORONTO STAR
April 21, 1989
"Varnus's playing is characterised above all by a high degree of awareness and a tightly controlled Romantic conception. His technical knowledge is impeccable and his articulation extremely rich: he is able to use it in a differentiated way to bring the complexity of Bach's polyphony to life more than usual. He boldly exploits the instrument's dynamic extremities in both directions. His memory is accurate and unerring. He spends more time than usual on the echoes of the last chords, and he delays the resolution of dissonances almost to the point of intolerability. His surprising, sometimes astonishing phrasing reveals hitherto undiscovered beauties of works that are already well known. Varnus's playing - even if not everyone agrees with his approach - is captivating and convincing. Varnus's art is a challenge for contemporary performers, not just organists. His playing stimulates, even forces, the rethinking and reshaping of works and a somewhat outdated performing style. It is an inescapable fact: after Xaver Varnus, it is no longer possible to play the organ in the same way as before."
SZOLNOK ÚJ NÉPLAP
April 20, 1990
“This was not just one organ concert among many. It was a miracle that we so rarely get to experience, a ceremony in which a man blessed with talent lets us in on secrets, enchants us, lifts us up, fulfills us, rejuvenates us. We are witnesses to the workings of a great and wonderful power, a power we can only admire, not possess. Xaver Varnus played Bach in the Matthias Church. He played Bach with such dignity, such naturalness and such fascination that one could not imagine that it could be otherwise. We could feel the touch of eternal spiritual and intellectual currents, not bound by time and space. In this music there was an order as in the universe, the notes following one after the other as the planets move in their orbits. He had the power to create that certain sacred moment when everyone in the audience missed one beat of the heart."
ESTI HIRLAP HUNGARY
August 26, 1990
"The Bach-Varnus combination is like that of Chopin-Rubinstein".
November 2, 1990
"Virtuoso of the highest order"
DER NEUE TAG TIRSCHENREUTH
November 7, 1990
“Varnus knows something that very few people know. He has the power of his personality to influence the audience. His vibrant musicianship is not only combined with a solid technical knowledge, but also with a special approach to music, and to every musical note.”
February 19, 1991
“I am increasingly aware that one of the greatest musical geniuses of our time is Varnus, whose playing I heard tonight at a packed concert.”
May 24, 1991
“He sits down at the organ and takes complete spiritual control of the audience. We forget that we are in the cathedral. We could be anywhere. Bach captures our souls with his playing. In his case, the critics' criteria do not apply. We have to give ourselves over to the effulgent revelation of a divinely blessed talent.”
May 8, 1991
“In short, he doesn’t need Gould or Horowitz. He’s Varnus, a splendid performer. His technical command just doesn’t come up for discussion. He can do anything he wants to do. He makes it sound easy, just like a Harlem Globetrotter casually finding a basketball the entire length of the court and sinking it dead centre. Every time.”
THE HALIFAX CHRONICLE HERALD
March 1, 1996
“At the beginning of the concert, Varnus immediately captures the audience's heart with Bach's insanely difficult Fantasy and Fugue in G minor. Human words are not enough to describe how fatally he enchanted the huge crowd with his playing.”
April 26, 1999
“Varnus is one of the most influential figure in organ music in the early 21st-century.”
THE NEW CLASSICAL FM CANADA
November 19, 2019
“One of the premier organ players in the world”
November 30, 2020
“One of the greatest organists of our time”
OTTAWA LIFE MAGAZINE
May 30, 2022