James Leonard
AllMusic, 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 works' 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 the 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.