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Bach: The Toccatas CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
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Audio CD, CD, 21 Jun 2002
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Product details

  • Performer: Angela Hewitt
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (21 Jun. 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B000069CVA
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,364 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Toccata in C Minor
  2. Toccata in G Major
  3. Toccata in F sharp minor
  4. Toccata in E Minor
  5. Toccata in D Minor
  6. Toccata in G Minor
  7. Toccata in D Major

Product description

Product Description

Angela Hewitt returns to her beloved Bach with this stunning disc of some of the great master's most joyous keyboard music. The toccatas are youthful, improvisatory, virtuoso works, composed in the aftermath of Bach's trip in 1705 to Lübeck to hear the great Buxtehude (he travelled for ten days on foot to get there), perhaps the greatest organist of the time. Buxtehude was a master of the stylus fantasticus a very unrestrained and free way of composing, using dramatic and extravagant rhetorical gestures; the influence of this technique can clearly be heard in the seven keyboard toccatas Bach composed sometime between 1705 and 1714. Angela Hewitt's Bach playing has won unanimous praise from all quarters for its rhythmic vitality, tonal clarity and poetic warmth. This is another outstanding issue in what is widely recognized as the benchmark modern recordings of Bach's keyboard works.

BBC Review

Surely the Toccata was just the sort of piece for Bach. The perfect vehicle to display his gifts as a flamboyant, gifted and sometimes controversial performer. Forget the Bach Toccata however; there are no gothic vaults here, no bats in the belfry. These delightful early showpieces more closely resemble courtly dances.

Each contains several contrasting sections making varied, yet self-contained, pieces which can be listened to singly, like savouring a glass of light wine, or one after the other, like enjoying the whole bottle. And these truly are pieces to savour: the captivating G major Toccata, for example,with its exuberant opening movement and delicate central adagio followed by a joyful fugue. Repeated listening constantly reveals new delights such as the artfully concealed fugues of the Toccata in C minor (track 1 @ 3'39") or the D Major (track 7 @ 8'06").

The pieces are not arranged in chronological order. Indeed as Angela Hewitt points out in her excellent sleeve notes, their chronological order isn't known. This has enabled the sequence of pieces to be chosen to heighten the contrast between them - witness the transition between the end of the Toccata in G major and the opening of the F sharp minor.

Angela Hewitt's deftness of touch perfectly illuminates each different mood: exquisite slow movements which make you hold your breath in order not to break the spell; fugues which bubble along like a crystal clear stream running over pebbles shining in the sun. Clarity of texture with none of the details lost along the way. With playing such as this, arguments regarding on which sort of instrument, whether piano or harpsichord, they should be played, become redundant.

This disc is a delight from start to finish, a disc to lift the saddest of spirits.

Like This? Try These:

JS Bach: English Suites (Angela Hewitt)

JS Bach: Goldberg Variations (András Schiff)

CPE Bach: Sonatas and Rondos (Mikhail Pletnev) --Charles Whilems

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13 November 2014
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23 February 2006
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12 June 2009
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13 November 2002
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3 November 2003
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