Jill Crossland: JS Bach Keyboard Works

This is one of those CDs we struggle to review: “Bach keyboard played well” is a little short, so we resorted to the biography and sleeve notes.

The playing sounds difficult but Crossland is up to the task; for most of the CD the music flows around the listener like a fast river of notes, swirling and bubbling here, hitting a rock there; you feel you can almost see the mathematical basis of Bach’s work as structure and symmetry rush past.

The sleeve says the music in this programme “exemplifies the two sides of Bach’s compositional journey – a continual experimentation, aggregation and integration of different European styles, and the evolution of an entirely personal synthesis,” citing French and English pieces. The titles of the English Suite No.2 do not reflect an English influence, being possibly so named because it was written for an English nobleman, or it bore some resemblance to the keyboard works of Dieupart, a composer based in London. You don’t need to know any of this to appreciate the music, just enjoy the complex shapes created by the piano.

Crossland herself is from West Yorkshire and studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and has featured in the Classic FM Hall of Fame.

This an entertaining and intense programme of music, out now on Divine Art, DDV 24169.

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