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