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Hyperion Records

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Front illustration by Donya Claire James (b?)
Track(s) taken from CDA67767
Recording details: September 2008
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Hayes
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: September 2010
Total duration: 7 minutes 11 seconds

'Jonathan Plowright plays everything with calm, unforced assurance, nicely balancing Bach style and 1930s period manners, and making light of all the left-hand skips needed to suggest Bach's organ pedal parts. An immaculate recording and Calum MacDonald's detailed notes enhance the disc's appeal' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Every so often a CD comes along that I simply can't stop playing. Here's one such example … glorious interpretations by Jonathan Plowright' (The Observer)

'There are some gems here … this is an invaluable addition to Hyperion's Bach Piano Transcriptions series and Plowright has done us an enormous service in resurrecting these transcriptions and in rendering them so eloquently' (International Record Review)

O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig, BWV656
composer
1708/17; revised into Leipzig Chorales collection, the '18' circa 1744/7
arranger
published in 1925

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The pianist Leonard Borwick belonged to the generation that preceded Harriet Cohen and Myra Hess: his debut had come in Frankfurt in 1889, and he had the advantage of studying with Clara Schumann, who once wrote that she considered him her finest pupil. Clara had absorbed the passionate admiration for Bach of her husband and of Johannes Brahms—of whose music Borwick became one of the composer’s favourite interpreters. Borwick often included works by Bach in his recitals, and published several piano transcriptions. His version of O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig BWV656, one of the ‘Leipzig’ chorales of early date which Bach is believed to have revised in Leipzig in the 1740s, was published in 1925 and is almost dryly contrapuntal (Borwick scorning much in the way of ‘interpretative’ markings). It might almost be imagined as harpsichord music until a sudden flourish of pianistic octaves brings in the grand (not to say Brobdingnagian), organ-like third statement of the chorale; the piece thereafter works up to a cadenza and conclusion during which the pianist must wish for organ pedals so his feet can take some of the strain off the hands.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2010

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