Jill Crossland-

Bach Well-tempered Clavier
Books 1 and II

We are in the process of posting the many excellent reviews this set has received.

'polished and compelling' - International Record Review on Book 1


"my litmus test, is the extent to which Crossland is able to embed herself in a communicative and consistent style that stands a chance of drawing in the listener for the two hours it takes to unfold the first Book of the 48. That said, not everyone will choose to digest Bach's music in this way – and perhaps BBC Radio 3's recent packaging of the 48 over a course of six weeks, to the accompaniment of the listener's breakfast crackle and pop, is more conductive ... I report on the Crossland discs with a smile in my voice, as the pianist so often succeeds in coaxing from the instrument an effect that coincides with my personal perspective of what the music amounts to ... The slippery business of tempo selection is a major criterion here – Crossland rarely disappoints or antagonises with extremes, catching all the brilliance and nimbleness of the Prelude No. 21 in B flat major one could ask for ... Crossland's is a reading of great weight and intensity ... There is an enjoyment of the here-and-now in Crossland's playing, across the whole of Book 1 ... This is a polished and compelling account of Bach's Old Testament; Book 2 is awaited with eager anticipation""

'perhaps one of the finest of all time' - All Music Guide (USA)

One could compare English pianist Jill Crossland's 2003 recording of Book One of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier with Angela Hewitt's 1977 recording or András Schiff's 1984 recording. But while her performances would stand up well against them, a better comparison would be with Jörg Demus' 1970 recording or even Edwin Fischer's 1933 recording. The reason is simple: Crossland's interpretations are much more on the "lyrical expressivity" side of the Bach scale then on the "linear severity" side. This is not to say that Crossland is not interested in articulating the work’s Preludes and Fugues with luminous lucidity: anyone hearing her performances will clearly be able to hear every strand of counterpoint. This is to say that she is more interested in expressing the music's emotional content through the counterpoint. Like Demus and Fischer, Crossland is the old-fashioned sort of pianist who values what the music says more than how it says it. Performed with a graceful technique and a pellucid tone, Crossland's interpretations belong among the finest of recent years and perhaps among the finest of all time. Signum Classics' sound is cool, clear, and deep with a wonderful sense of space.

"What strikes first is the sheer variety of Crossland’s styles – a virtuosity of interpretation. Her performance modes allow both softness of touch and hardness of articulation ... At all times, her playing is assuredly clear and controlled ... Her sense of structure and form is outstanding – making the might of climaxes an experience of passionate dynamism and something inexorable ... Crossland has put her admirable technique in the service of her cool-headed compassion"


"Within seconds you're drawn into the gentle hammer-strokes that unlock Crossland's warm, rounded and perpetually singing sonority ... The preludes inspire Crossland's best work"


" ... the eminent and revered Bach interpreter, Jill Crossland ... A highly fitting addition to any collection of piano repertoire"

MusicWeb International