Partita in G, BWV 829
Piano Sonata in D, Op.10/3
Strauss, transcribed Reger
Schumann, trans. Liszt
Angela Hewitt (piano)
Reviewed by: Robert Matthew-Walker
Reviewed: 22 September, 2008
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London
Gone were the advertised pieces by Muldowney and Barber for this BBC Lunchtime Concert. Nevertheless, this recital defied criticism, absolutely and utterly. Playing a Fazioli piano, more brightly-toned than a Steinway, Angela Hewitt demonstrated the excellence of her choice initially in Bach’s G major Partita. Her total range of tone, voicing, chording and part-playing – allied to a comprehensively wide dynamic range – was wholly exceptional; her colouration of subtle variations within the myriad repeats throughout the work was exemplary, as was her characterisation of each movement itself. Here was Bach playing of a standard that surely only a handful of pianists could equal, and none surpass.
In the Beethoven, Hewitt found much humour and conveyed it in a truly delightful – and always musical – fashion, while at no time ignoring the composer’s detailed markings; in addition, she revealed the depths of the work’s very profound slow movement most movingly. This was another memorable reading, such as made one long to hear her in the B flat Concerto.
Two rare song transcriptions showed Hewitt in later repertoire, in which she was also completely at ease. This was, if I haven’t made the point clearly enough, a memorable recital of superb musicianship and outstanding pianism. The packed Wigmore Hall – standing room only! – listened throughout with rapt attention; apart from her playing, you could metaphorically have heard a pin drop.