|3. Allegro Ma Non Tanto|
|4. (First Movement)|
|5. Adagio E Piano Sempre|
|7. (First Movement)|
|13. (First Movement)|
|14. Andante - Allegretto Tranquillo - Andante|
|15. Allegro Assai|
If you are familiar with Murray Perahia's Bach concertos, give a listen to these and see if you agree with most major reviewers who feel the Hewitt-ACO performances even surpass those fine efforts. There is more of a unstressed and carefree flow of tempo in Miss Hewitt's performances, which she conducted from a Fazioli grand. Just listening to the first few bars of the first movement of the 6th concerto reveals how perfect Hewitt and the ACO are for this music. Hewitt's playing is both equisitely delicate but completely commanding at the same time and blends wonderfully with the feathery tones of the two flute soloists and Richard Tognetti's silky-smooth violin interludes. Having ten years of Bach recordings under her belt shows clearly in Hewitt's natural, at-one flow with the music - like she has penetrated the life within the music and just exudes it the most natural and intended manner like breathing. Her lines are sure and elegant and her ornamentations support the overall melody in the most delightful way that does not draw attention to the performer. Her bass 'flutters' are really appealing, injecting nuances of artistry and excitement. This is music of top caliber and performances to be celebrated with a timeless, ever-fresh quality that should wear well through the years.
I was impressed with the amount of extremely positive music industry reviews of these July '05 releases. Dependable music critic David Hurwitz of ClassicsToday gave both CD's glowing reviews and a perfect 10/10 for Artistry / Sound Quality. With efforts like this, its not hard to believe Angela Hewitt is Hyperion's #1 artist. And with these concertos, Ms. Hewitt completes her decade-long Bach traversal with a grand crescendo and now moves on to new projects - which includes the third volume of Couperin's clavier pieces, works from Chabrier and three of Beethoven's piano sonatas (that should be interesting). If you have not heard Hewitt's Couperin recordings, they have an exceptional appeal as she makes a strong case for Couperin's suites on modern piano.
A tidbit for Hewitt fans: Angela Hewitt is the first woman to record the whole of Bach's keyboard works - and doing it from memory as well, which is no easy task given the complexities of Bach's counterpuctal scores. In an interview Angela comments how many pianists fear performing Bach from memory as "getting off the rails" is easy to do with such inter-twining music. I was also particularly impressed with Ms. Hewitt's "holistic commitment" to her music career by the way she maintains the healthiest lifestyle and vitality through exercise, proper rest, good friends, eating pure foods and eshewing all substances like caffeine, alcohol, and OTC drugs that she feels could adversely affect her total focus and physical responses. (living in a beautiful part of Italy part time also helps probably). She said all this has put her at the peak of concentration and vitality to perform Bach to the fullest. Judging from the sparkling pianism and total concentration she exhibits in many fine Bach recordings, it seems such a healthy way of life has payed off. Her music really does seem to exude a freshness, vibrancy and healthy vitality in many ways.
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