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Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier / Angela Hewitt

Album Summary

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, BWV 870-893
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Ten years ago Angela Hewitt recorded a version of The Well-Tempered Clavier that dazzled the critical world and record-buying public. Now, fresh from her Bach World Tour - in which she performed the complete Well-Tempered Clavier from August 2007 until the end of October 2008 in 58 cities in 21 countries on six continents - Angela has made an entirely new recording of this most iconic of keyboard works. In a revealing and personal program note, Angela explains her reasons, both artistic and emotional, for this momentous creative decision. She speaks of the "new-found freedom" that she discovered in her later performances, and especially her use of Fazioli pianos, "whose luminous, powerful, and also ever so delicate sounds opened new worlds to me and allowed my imagination to take flight."

'Her best Bach yet ... Not everyone can improve on the best, but it looks as if Angela Hewitt might have done just that ... This is a defining moment in the performance history of the '48' ... Hewitt's second thoughts, enhanced by technically outstanding recording, hold me totally enthralled' (BBC Music Magazine)

' If you aren't hooked by her Book One C major prelude - noble yet nonchalant, gently flecked with rubato - rush to a doctor immediately. And on she proceeds, track after track, illuminating the music with great sensitivity and interpretative freedom. In the ten years since 1999, Hewitt's feeling for Bach has widened. The touch of her fingers is lighter now; her pulse is more elastic. The piano, too, has changed. Now it's a Fazioli, luminous and microscopically subtle. With Hyperion's recording, even its reverberations are a joy; witness those lingering last notes, crowned with a halo. Fugal counterpoint, dry on the page, dances before us, multicoloured ... The 2009 Hewitt - protean, humane, modern but respectful, beautifully recorded - is the version to live with. It would even sound good, I'm sure, on the BBC's desert island' (The Times)

'A previous document, which draws on her development as a person and a performer over the past 10 years. Playing of this ease and assurance rarely has such a profound understanding of the material. This is no mechanical journey through the cycle of keys. This is life itself' (The Observer)

'Listening to Angela Hewitt's latest thoughts on Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier alongside her late-1990s Hyperion cycle, it appears that her interpretations haven't changed so much as evolved, intensfied and, most important, internalised ... While both versions hold equal validity and stature, Hewitt's remake ultimately digs deeper, with more personalised poetry' (Gramophone)

'Angela Hewitt's Bach has long been a thing of wonder ... This four CD set of both books of Das Wohltemperierte Klavier again illustrates how she can deploy the timbres and technical attributes of the piano to animate the music in the most sensitive way. Her palette of colours is judiciously chosen, her variety of touch and dynamics gauged so that each prelude and fugue has a character of its own and contributes something special to Bach's iridescent kaleidoscope of musical invention' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Her recording is at once airy and inexpressibly profound. It has a significance way beyond the beauty and depth of her playing. In a chaotic, Dante-esque world ... Angela Hewitt, with her heart-stopping playing of Bach on this vital new recording, offers a singular voice of clarity and reason' (The Glasgow Herald)

'Ten years ago, Hewitt covered this ground... It seemed she was the last word on the subject... Setting out to be the queen of this corner, she delivers a new last word on the subject giving this work a new life that should have come from another interpreter farther down the line. If you own the original, you need to check out this set and hear that she has found more than subtle differences in the work to bring out. A tasty and deep outing that delivers much more than you'd expect' (Midwest Record Review, USA)

'Hewitt dares to give us a bejeweled Bach. She has admirable independence in etching each voice in the fugues... she shapes and molds each phrase through color and rhythm... This is a vision of Bach that encompasses an elegant sensuality. It doesn't preclude emotion, either: At many points, I found myself brimming up with the beauty of it all' (Dallas Morning News, USA)

'Best Classical Releases of 2009 (so far): "Acclaimed as one of the most creative and thoughtful performers of J.S. Bach's keyboard music since the innovative performances of her compatriot, Glenn Gould, Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt... brings across the 48 preludes and fugues with assured technique and generous expression' (All Music, USA)


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Works Details

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, BWV 846-869
  • Performer: Angela Hewitt (Piano)
  • Notes: Jesus Christ Church, Berlin, Germany (09/08/2008-09/16/2008)
  • Running Time: 109 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1722

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2, BWV 870-893
  • Performer: Angela Hewitt (Piano)
  • Notes: Jesus Christ Church, Berlin, Germany (09/08/2008-09/16/2008)
  • Running Time: 142 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1740