Sunday, 11 October 2015

06 October, 2015 Angela Hewitt at the Royal Festival Hall *****

The land that gave us Glenn Gould also gave us Angela Hewitt. Hewitt, I think, has achieved the same pre-eminence as today’s consummate Bach interpreter as Gould did in the fifties and sixties. Her recently released account of the Art of Fugue will achieve the same classic status as Gould’s original Goldberg Variations recording. But there the similarities end. In contrast to Gould’s brooding and increasingly reclusive persona, Angela Hewitt breezes on to the platform with a broad smile and a genuine desire to share her musical insights with the world. She is one of those rare pianists who achieves a state of almost Zen-like calm, exhibiting no physical or facial tics other than a flourish at the end of each piece (see image above). But the music flows unrestrained from her very core.

Miss Hewitt gave us a beautifully crafted account of Beethoven’s Les Adieux and two devilishly technical pieces by Liszt, Sonetto 123 del Petrarca and Après une Lecture du Dante; but it was the Bach which was the highlight of the evening, in particular an immaculate account of the Partita No. 2 (BWV826). And, most personal of all, the encore, a simple arrangement (her own) of the Choral Prelude Alle Menschen Müssen Sterben infused with a deep love and respect for the begetter of all western classical music.

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