The [Chromatic] Fantasy is like a particularly discursive introductory recitative that explores all the possibilities that are then delimited by the Fugue in its formally perfect way. You are about to hear the new recording by the pianist Burkard Schliessmann. He is extremely well informed as a musician. He knows not only the aesthetic maxims of the Baroque but also the performing traditions of the 19th century, a century which for its part had to rediscover Bach for itself. Schliessmann sees himself as the heir of the virtuoso performing tradition, which he continues to develop in his own unique way. This occasionally leads to moments that listeners may find puzzling, when, for example, he shapes at least part of the melody and its accompaniment in altogether opposing ways and coordinates them with an original rubato rhetoric. The music does not simply purr along but flows over unusual cascades. Listeners need to re-orientate themselves.
The pianist’s unorthodox modelling technique is particularly noticeable in this sequence of dance movements [the Partita No. 2], each of which has a different mood and all of which are introduced by a magnificent Sinfonia. A different breath blows through the music from section to section, resulting in unusual changes of perspective. The piano doesn’t always do what we are accustomed to expect from it.