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Bach: The Six Partitas / Angela Hewitt

Album Summary

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for Keyboard no 1 in B flat major, BWV 825
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for Keyboard no 2 in C minor, BWV 826
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for Keyboard no 4 in D major, BWV 828
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for keyboard no 3 in A minor, BWV 827 (BC L3)
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for keyboard no 5 in G major, BWV 829 (BC L5)
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for keyboard no 6 in E minor, BWV 830 (BC L6)
Performer Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"The six Partitas are Bach's grandest keyboard suites...Hewitt makes a beautiful, limpid sound; her ornaments...are exquisitely precise as well as sounding natural; she uses the subtle shadings and variations of volume possible on the piano without swamping the music...The famous Gigue which ends the first Partita, perhaps the most popular suite with pianists, is superbly poised, light and joyous. Indeed, that would sum up the entire set." ***** -Jack, Classic CD

'One of the outstanding Bach pianists of our time, her playing of the great Partitas is something very special indeed. She is formidably equipped for this demanding music - technically, musically, intellectually. These are discs to play again and again and marvel at the artistry' (The Sunday Times)

'Effortlessly eclipsing all competition... the whole disc gives unalloyed pleasure; definitely one of my choices of the year' (Gramophone)

'Everything has been deeply considered. Everything works. Hewitt makes a beautiful, limpid sound; her ornaments are exquisitely precise as well as sounding natural; she uses the subtle shadings and variations of volume possible on the piano without swamping the music. Technically the paying is faultless ... superbly poised, light and joyous. Indeed, that would sum up the entire set' (Classic CD)

'Hyperion gives us something to treasure here. I recommend this set without reservation' (Radio Eireann, Ireland)

'Pouvait-on imaginer Bach aussi limineux, brillant?... Un exercice 'parfait', à écouter et é réécouter pour un savourer toute la puissance, toute l'éloquence (Répertoire, France)

'For this pair of discs only superlatives will do. Replete with inventiveness at its most outstanding. My appreciation of this Canadian pianist is enormous; I classify her among the top performers of our time' (Soundscapes, Australia)

'Une interprète qui mérite d'être suivi avec la plus grand attention' (Diapason, France)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
If Bach is to be played on the piano, this is the kind of way to do it. Inherent in all Hewitt's playing is a rhythmic vitality, always under control, that sweeps you along with its momentum, subtly varied articulation, dynamics that follow the natural rise or fall of phrases without exaggerations, an appreciation of Bach's harmonic tensions, an ability to differentiate between the strength of contrapuntal lines, and an unfailing clarity of texture.

This is a sane and sensible interpretation, deeply musicianly and devoid of eccentricity.

Her attitude, rather like Toscanini's, is to accept the text com' è scritto and then to make legitimate adjustments, so we get double-dotting and assimilation of rhythms. Technically she's immaculate, with the cleanest possible ornaments.

In the great E minor Sarabande Hewitt is justifiably emotional, without becoming soggy: only in the first half of the A minor Allemande is there a hint of coyness. No, the whole disc gives unalloyed pleasure.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
This is a discovery of major importance. Hubert Parry (no mean critic) regarded Stanford's Violin Concerto as one of his finest works, yet it has been played rarely, if at all, since his death in 1924. One preliminary word of warning though: despite Stanford's reputation as a disciple of Brahms, don't listen to this concerto expecting it to sound Brahmsian. Often enough it does, but when it doesn't it isn't because Stanford has failed to match the quality of his 'model'; far more often it's because he's going his own way, speaking with his own and not a derivative voice.

The very opening of the concerto is a case in point: the soloist's melody is accompanied by a beautifully delicate texture of plucked strings and rippling woodwind. There's nothing quite like it in Brahms; nor is Brahms always so generous with his thematic material as Stanford is in this movement. After that 'first subject' and an extensive and varied 'second subject group', a big and dramatic orchestral tutti leads not to the expected development but to a new and quite splendid theme. There's plenty of room for virtuosity, but very often the display is modified by a pensive quality, a reticence, that's seemingly Stanford's own, and most attractive.

The slow movement is also notable for its individual scoring (very spare at the outset; a magical return of the melancholy opening melody at the end over murmuring tremolando strings) and for its melodic distinction. The sadness of the first theme is again reticent, adding greatly to the eloquence of the heartfelt tutti that leads to the finest theme in the entire work, upon which Stanford lavishes rhapsodic figuration of great beauty.

There's not a player better suited to bringing this concerto back to life than Anthony Marwood.

He easily surmounts its technical demands, but his distinction as a chamber musician enables him to seek out all its quieter subtleties and pensive asides. The Suite is a lesser but still highly entertaining work, an exercise in neo-Baroque designed as a warmly affectionate tribute to Joseph Joachim. Its sheer ingenuity (the first movement, for example, is a combination of sonata form and two sets of interlocked variations) saves it from being a mere exercise, and its melodic freshness from being a mere makeweight to the masterly concerto. First-class orchestral playing, sympathetically conducted, and a recording that's both clean and spacious.



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Works Details

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for Keyboard no 1 in B flat major, BWV 825
  • Performer: Angela Hewitt (Piano)
  • Notes: Beethovensaal, Hannover, Germany (06/24/1996-06/26/1996)
  • Running Time: 17 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1726-1731

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for Keyboard no 2 in C minor, BWV 826
  • Performer: Angela Hewitt (Piano)
  • Notes: Beethovensaal, Hannover, Germany (06/24/1996-06/26/1996)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1726-1731

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for Keyboard no 4 in D major, BWV 828
  • Performer: Angela Hewitt (Piano)
  • Notes: Beethovensaal, Hannover, Germany (06/24/1996-06/26/1996)
  • Running Time: 30 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1726-1731

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for keyboard no 3 in A minor, BWV 827 (BC L3)
  • Performer: Angela Hewitt (Piano)
  • Notes: Beethovensaal, Hannover, Germany (01/06/1997-01/08/1997)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1726-1731

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for keyboard no 5 in G major, BWV 829 (BC L5)
  • Performer: Angela Hewitt (Piano)
  • Notes: Beethovensaal, Hannover, Germany (01/06/1997-01/08/1997)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1726-1731

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Partita for keyboard no 6 in E minor, BWV 830 (BC L6)
  • Performer: Angela Hewitt (Piano)
  • Notes: Beethovensaal, Hannover, Germany (01/06/1997-01/08/1997)
  • Running Time: 31 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1726-1731