Bach's keyboard Toccatas, as Angela Hewitt explains in her illuminating liner notes, are early works which the young Bach may have used as showpieces for his compositional and virtuoso talents. They are characterised, what is more, by a mix of startling improvisatory passages (the opening 'toccata' sections) and exhilarating fugal sections. Perhaps this is what the young Johann Sebastian sounded when he was improvising at the keyboard? With the exception of maybe two or three (the C minor, Gmajor, and D major pieces), they are not generally amongst the best known of Bach's pieces for solo keyboard nor are they, it must be said, among the very best: Hewitt herself states that some of the fugal sections can sound a little relentless and unyielding in the wrong hands. Thankfully, though, Hewitt's hands are most definitely the right ones and her performance on the modern grand piano is one of very best. Technically, she is as excellent as we have come to expect - there can be few performances of the tight fugal sections that are as clear or as masterful. But what makes these performances truly outstanding are the musical virtues of Angela Hewitt's playing: the wonderful flexible and vital rhythmic momentum which is brought to even the most difficult of passages, the lovely play of light and shade that is so seldom heard in these pieces, the clarity of texture and the illuminating interplay between the voices, not to forget the beautiful poise and touch which is one of the hallmark's of Hewitt's Bach. Make no mistake: this is Bach playing of the highest order, Bach playing that is warm and humane. Angela Hewitt is developing into one of our finest pianists - and not just in Bach, as those who know her Ravel will attest.