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on Goldberg Variations recording
on Wigmore Hall recital Jan 2004

The Independent On Sunday




1) INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY on Jill's recording of the Bach Goldberg Variations

Warner’s affordable Apex series has thus far focused on back catalogue re-releases from the great and good. But peer through the lists and a few new gems are appearing; among them Jill Crossland’s interpretation of the Goldberg Variations. In a market already glutted with plucked and hammered Goldbergs, a new recording of such an iconic work seems an unlikely disc to launch but Warners should be commended for spotting this iconoclastic account. Crossland’s range of effects and rich, deliberate tempi will not be to everyone’s tastes. Indeed, on first listening I found myself shaking my head in exasperation at her dynamic range and extrinsic colourations. Yet successive listenings reveal much character in this quasi-Romantic reading. If the Aria baffles, the Canons are as divine as they are weird. Crossland’s Goldberg is ‘a grower’. What Bach would have made of it is anyone’s guess but Chopin would have loved it.

- Anna Picard 18 May 2003

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We have found these sentiments echoed in the following Japanese review (pseudo-poseidonios.net) from which the following extracted translation is reproduced (there is no English version in the original)

...when I listened to the CD for the second time, not expecting much, I suddenly realized that her pianism wasclear. Generally, for listeners who value the beauty of the equilibrium in Bach's, this is certainly an unusual rendition. But I began to think she had reached this interpretation after much consideration. It is full of interesting invention, especially if one pays attention to the contrast between slow and fast tempi and to the balance of the sound. Particularly in the second half, there is a subtle sense of balance intertwined with an exceptional articulacy. Thus I came to like Jill more and more.

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Jill Crossland at the Wigmore

A beautifully judged- performance of Bach's Second English Suite set the standard for Jill Crossland's Wigmore Hall recital on 9 January. After a meticulous account of the demanding Prelude, she found the perfect balance between the lively rhythms of the brisk Courante and rapid Bourrees and the meditative Allemande with its tonal variety and the Sarabande, to which she brought a lovely singing tone.


Her approach to Bach's Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue was equally serious, and particularly revealing in its exploration of the fugue's structural complexity.

In the tuneful variations of Handel's Chaconne in G Crossland foreshadowed the rich repository of melodies that the composer was later to fill with his vast output of operas and oratorios.

Similarly, in the two works by Mozart that followed, one was made acutely aware of the composer as dramatist

The Variations on Ah vous dirai-je, maman, embracing a wide range of moods from introversion to frivolity, were played with a full measure of drama and emotion. Jill Crossland captured the theatrical tone of the Allegro in Mozart's F major Piano Sonata K 332, then traced out the slow movement with delicacy and refinement before rising to the technical demands of the finale with the impeccably articulated runs that define her playing.


March- April 2004 Musical Opinion

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