John Jones’s harpsichord lessons (i.e. suites), published in 1754, are here rescued from an undeserved obscurity by Mitzi Meyerson. Jones has written some attractive music which shows an individual voice with a distinctive synthesis of the compositional elements common to composers of the period. As Meyerson points out in her illuminating notes Jones was well respected in his day, holding down three big positions including organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral up to his death in 1796. Whether because of Handel’s long shadow, as suggested by Meyerson, or because his published music was confined to three sets of keyboard lessons, some chants and a few songs, Jones has been largely forgotten, which is a pity since the music on this recording both delights and surprises.
Meyerson plays on a double-manual instrument by Michael Johnson which is very skillfully recorded to maximise its potential. The playing is always intelligent and expressive, showing a sympathetic approach to Jones’ text while not being afraid to extend it by filling out and ornamenting. The CD ends with a single Brillante movement from one of Jones’ later lessons printed in 1761; it would be great to hear more of that later music if Meyerson is inspired and helped to record it. Her current recording has already made a significant contribution to the story of English music.