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Bach: The Keyboard Concertos 1 / Hewitt, Tognetti, et al

Album Summary

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor, BWV 1052
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Harpsichord in G minor, BWV 1058
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Brandenburg Concerto no 5 in D major, BWV 1050
>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Flute, Violin and Harpsichord in A minor, BWV 1044 "Triple Concerto"
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"These performances with the ACO are characterised by the same freshness of spirit and clarity of fingerwork that have marked [Angela Hewitt's] 'French Suites', 'English Suites', her 'Partitas', and the 'Preludes' and Fugues of 'The Well-Tempered Clavier'." - The Sunday Times

Australian exclusive! Features concertos No. 1 & 7, Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 and Triple Concerto. Hyperion. 2005.

'Her [Hewitt's] playing is absolutely captivating: she decorates the solo part with playful, come-hither ornamentation - twirls, flutters, arabesques - and yet it never disturbs the clear, logical path she forges through the course of each work. Her staccato touch has the force of sprung steel and yet her legato line is a miracle of smoothness and transparency. An absolute joy' (Gramophone)

'Hewitt's Bach is well-known for its expressive restraint, lucid textures and rhythmic grace. These virtues are abundantly present in her thoughtful, unmannered approach to the Concertos. Contrapuntal arguments are admirably clear and Hewitt's restricted use of the sustaining pedal ensures a pleasing clarity of dialogue. These virtues are mirrored by the lightly articulated bowing of the strings of the Australian Chamber Orchestra under the direction of its leader Richard Tognetti... My own preference lies just with Hewitt and her Australian musicians' (BBC Music Magazine)

'As always, she [Hewitt] really sparkles in the allegros, infusing the music with wit as well as technical bravura' (Sunday Times)

'these two discs, while available separately, go in tandem as a beguiling example of what can be achieved in performances of Baroque music on the piano when they have been prepared with such thought and are blessed with such compelling artistry as Angela Hewitt's. (The Daily Telegraph)

'The result of their historically informed modern-instrument take on the music is stunning, with crisp rhythms and singing melodic lines' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Hewitt's performances are brilliantly alive. Her subtle lyricism adds a rich, occasionally dark dimension, possibly not as Bach himself would have envisaged, but always with a deep sense of musical integrity' (The Scotsman) 'Here the Fazioli is heard at its exquisite best, its spongey bass chords pumping with clarity, its treble caressing a heart-tuggingly beautiful legato out of the slow movement, while the dainty strings sketch an almost tongue-in-cheek pizzicato in the background. Hewitt's sense of phrase is masterful... the statements have regal import under the authoritative hands of this queen of keyboard playing' (The Times)

'Her fingers dance as well as sing: in the outer movements, rhythms are buoyantly sprung, and this communicates itself to the members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, whose slender string accompaniment in no way lessens their energy, while Hewitt responds by projecting the piano parts with all due attention to Bach's overall texture' (International Record Review) 'Ils sont tous les deux [enregistrements éminents de cette musique dans cette configuration à "instruments modernes"] littéralement enterrés par la nouvelle gravure Hewitt-Tognetti' (ClassicsTodayFrance.com)

'Ms. Hewitt's recordings exude timeless beauty and introspection, and when wed to Hyperion's exquisite and sensuous tonal lustre, are must-haves for the Bach enthusiast' (Fanfare, USA)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
These are not entirely modern-instrument performances. Angela Hewitt includes, as she says, 'a harpsichord in its traditional role as continuo'. Combining old and new isn't unusual because in the early years of period performing practices, the likes of Thurston Dart, Raymond Leppard and George Malcolm married a harpsichord to modern strings and wind. What's unusual here is the melding of two different types of keyboard, one sharply transient, the other ductile; and just how their functions dovetail with one another may be heard in the slow movement of the Brandenburg Concerto No 5. Hewitt also adds a cello to the continuo while contributing notes inégales, appogiature and other embellishments to her own line. The result is a potent artistic synergy between the musicians.

Hewitt doesn't slavishly follow a formula, though. In the Adagio of No 1 and the Adagio epiano sempre of No 3 (where she is most intense because both remind her of Passion music), she omits the keyboard's bass notes for the exposition of the theme but only in No 1 does she play them for its return at the end. In these instances, in the Andante of No 7 and elsewhere, she also varies the prominence of her left hand to give the ripieno string bass a strong presence too, while delineating the right hand melody most feelingly.

Interpretative decisions are intelligently applied; and Hewitt is at her best in the slow movements, all of which are played with the finest sensibility. If a more sinewy approach to a few of the outer movements might not have come amiss, her ability to gauge the critical notes of phrases so as to maintain an elastically accented rhythm offers ample compensation; and the consummate Australian Chamber Orchestra is with her every step of the way. The flute is placed backward in BWV1044 but otherwise recorded balance and sound ensure unimpeded concentration on the performances. Small changes in level between some works are easily adjusted. A superb pair of discs.



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Works Details

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Harpsichord in D minor, BWV 1052
  • Performer: Angela Hewitt (Piano)
  • Notes: Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Australia (02/04/2005/02/05/2005)
  • Running Time: 22 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1738

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Harpsichord in G minor, BWV 1058
  • Performer: Angela Hewitt (Piano)
  • Notes: Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Australia (02/04/2005/02/05/2005)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1738

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Brandenburg Concerto no 5 in D major, BWV 1050
  • Performers: Angela Hewitt (Piano); Alison Mitchell (Flute); Richard Tognetti (Violin)
  • Notes: Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Australia (02/04/2005/02/05/2005)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 03/24/1721

>Bach, Johann Sebastian : Concerto for Flute, Violin and Harpsichord in A minor, BWV 1044 "Triple Concerto"
  • Performers: Angela Hewitt (Piano); Alison Mitchell (Flute); Richard Tognetti (Violin)
  • Notes: Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Australia (02/04/2005/02/05/2005)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1729-1741