“Music making of undeniable authority” – The Age on Angela Hewitt

Bach specialist shows mastery

September 26, 2013

Reviewed by Martin Duffy, The Age

Melbourne Recital Centre
September 24 and 28

Hailed as one of the leading pianists of her generation, Canadian Angela Hewitt has devoted a career to performing and recording the keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Her celebrated recordings have recently been completed with the addition of his final great masterpiece The Art of Fugue, BWV1080. Such is the musical and intellectual challenge for both performer and audience alike that Hewitt has divided its 14 fugues (contrapunctus) and four canons over two separate performances.

To begin, Hewitt played arrangements by Wilhelm Kempff of three earlier Bach works – the choral prelude Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Come now, saviour of the heathen) BWV659, the tender Siciliano from the Flute Sonata in E flat major BWV1031 and the rousing Sinfonia in D major from Cantata No. 29, BWV29. This mini sampler clearly showed the evenness and independence of her hands, her ability to delineate and express multiple voices, and sensitive pedalling that exploits the opportunities of the modern keyboard while retaining a character that Bach would presumably still find familiar.

Beethoven’s Sonata No. 28 in A major, op 101 was a brief respite from Bach, although still continuing the contrapuntal theme. While missing the romanticism of more familiar interpretations, Hewitt’s clarity – particularly in its finale – unveiled different emphases.

Whether your entry point is Bach’s religious devotion, the intellectual and musicological masterpiece of its construction or the sheer beauty of its unfolding sounds, Hewitt’s artistry and interpretation of The Art of Fugue was music making of undeniable authority.


For more information on Angela Hewitt’s tour with Musica Viva, including performance dates, program and ticket sales, visit musicaviva.com.au/hewitt


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