34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This review is from: Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 (Audio CD)
The background to this recording is a charming one : Hewitt spent three days recording tracks for the album in London. On the final evening she went out for a meal with some friends and then offered to give an impromptu private performance of the "Variations" back at the auditorium. They left the tape running and this was the take that Hyperion used.
One of the true delights of the "Goldberg Variations" is that it yields so many different interpretations. Everybody has their favorite: Gould for his dazzling idiosyncracies and because he produced two very contrasting versions; Schiff and Kempff for their more conventional but still wonderful renditions; Perahia for his amazing filigree touch.
Hewitt's performance on this recording is simply incredible. Just hearing the first few bars of the "Aria" made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Truly great artists can take a work to another level; it's what Argerich did with Liszt's "Sonata in B Minor"; it's what Perahia did with Chopin's "Études" (op. 10 & 25). Hewitt achieves the same milestone with her "Goldbergs". Her perfectly suited dynamics and crystalline articulation are magical, as are the small, personal flourishes that she introuduces into the piece with the sensitivity of a Zen calligrapher (pay particular attention to the seventh variation - sublime). Also worth noting is the quality of the recording itself; the sound engineers really outdid themselves.