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Penguin Guide, January 2009

This is not only one of Jenő Jandó’s finest records, it is one of the finest available recitals of Bach’s shorter keyboard pieces on the piano. Jandó’s opening of the Chromatic Fantasia is dazzling in its flair and crisp virtuosity, and the following Aria variata with its ten variations is ear-tweaking in its diversity. The two works with fugues are spacious and splendidly articulated, and the Overture in the French Style completes a most satisfying disc, very well recorded.

Tim Perry
MusicWeb International, September 2007

Jenő Jandó is now so well known through his plethora of recordings for Naxos that two sentences suffice for his biography in the booklet notes for this CD. I suppose his recordings speak for themselves.

Jandó is a pianistic equivalent of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. If you want anything recorded, he can do it and he will do it with taste and honesty, and without ego. He plays on a modern instrument, but is conscious of Classical and Baroque style and form. His cycle of the Beethoven sonatas is consistently fine and reliably straightforward, and his ongoing Haydn sonata set is as musicianly and good-humoured as any in the catalogue. His credentials as a Bach pianist are also strong. Although I have not heard his set of the 48 or his Goldberg Variations, this CD demonstrates that he clearly has an innate understanding of, and love for, Bach's music.

He starts the Chromatic Fantasia in an almost Gouldian vein, but after the initial flurries, Jandó starts to use his pedal a little and allows himself some fantasy – though not as much as Lise de la Salle does in her fabulous recording on Naïve. The fugue that follows – which Gould famously hated and never recorded – is an understated model of clarity.

The next few pieces are all in A Minor. The first of these is the Aria variata, one of only a few examples of theme-and-variation music that Bach wrote, and a precursor to the later, larger and far more famous Goldberg Variations. The aria on which the piece is based is a simple quadruple metre tune and Jandó plays it with a disarming simplicity that leads naturally into the largo of the first variation that follows and through the remainder of the piece.

The Fantasia and Fugue that follows announces itself unostentatiously. The Fantasia is much more solidly built than the improvisatory Chromatic Fantasia that opens the album and forms a tight unit with the fugue, even though the two movements did not appear together until 1800, long after Bach's death. The Prelude and Fugue that follow bring the A Minor bracket of the programme to a close, and again Jandó's freshness and perfect pacing are most agreeable.

The French Overture is a counterpart to Bach's Italian Concerto: just as in the latter piece he assimilates the melodic hallmarks of the Italian concerto genre, in the French Overture – and later in the French Suites – Bach appropriates the rhythmic devices and dance styles that typified the French music of his time. This piece can seem a bit stolid in the wrong hands, but Jandó manages the balance between courtly hauteur and joie de vivre nicely.

Throughout the programme, Jandó's firm fingers and clear voice-leading lay the music open for comprehension. He uses pedal, staccato and ornamentation in moderation. The recorded sound is close, but always clear and true. Keith Anderson once again provides helpful liner notes. All up, this is an attractive proposition.

Patrick Rucker
Fanfare, September 2007

…Jenö Jandó is a very fine pianist. My admiration for his playing even predates his having become a virtual house pianist for Naxos, with his high quality series of Beethoven, Mozart, Liszt, and other composers on that label. His musical instincts are always sound, his execution unmannered, and his formidable technique equal to any task he sets himself.

Jandó gives the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue an appropriately fiery performance. If some opportunities for greater drama in the fantasy are resisted, the searching, plaintive quality of the long recitative is beautifully captured.

Throughout this demanding and varied repertoire, Jandó’s performances are clean, precise, and intellectually cogent. If he in fact uses the damper pedal at all, it is so discrete as to be inaudible. …the performances themselves, for those whose tastes incorporate Bach on the modern piano, are heartily recommended. © 2007 Fanfare Read complete review

Anthony Clarke
Limelight, July 2007

This is a worthwhile anthology, played by Jeno Jando so persuasively on a modern piano that all thoughts of musical veracity or historical correctness disappear. I wish the notes indicated what type of piano is used in this recording. Whatever it is, the result is startling. Through the combination of instrument and ambience, Jando is able to make his piano deliver the crisp articulation of a harpsichord, while at times his sweeps of glistening notes sound like the strumming of a harp….All the pieces are marked by Jeno Jando’s very relaxed, very free style of playing. There’s a delicious ease here which makes listening just as joyous as we can imagine his performance was.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2007

Regular readers will know my aversion to Bach played on a modern piano, though I would concede that the Hungarian pianist, Jeno Jando, does everything possible to make his piano sound like a harpsichord, his fingers neat and crisp. Unlike Glen Gould's landmark Bach recordings where he fitted the music into a rhythmic straitjacket, Jando is very free as you will, for instance, find in the third variation of the Aria variata which becomes increasingly animated, a feature of many of the work's faster sections. At the same time the harpsichordist would not have had the possibility of making his instrument speak at Jando's mercurial tempos. All very exciting, the slower sections played with a nice sense of relaxation, the sustaining pedal used to finish off and elongate phrases. I was most happy in the more gentle and elegant dances that form much of the French Suite. Recorded quite close to the instrument to keep the sound as dry as possible.

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