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Track(s) taken from CDA67607/8

Brandenburg Concerto No 5 in D major, BWV1050

composer

Angela Hewitt (piano), Richard Tognetti (violin), Alison Mitchell (flute), Australian Chamber Orchestra, Richard Tognetti (conductor)
Recording details: February 2005
Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Australia
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: June 2005
Total duration: 19 minutes 57 seconds
 
1
Allegro  [9'41]
2
Affettuoso  [5'02]
3
Allegro  [5'14]

Other recordings available for download

Dunedin Consort, John Butt (conductor)
The Brandenburg Consort, Roy Goodman (conductor)

Reviews

'Her playing is absolutely captivating: she decorates the solo part with playful, come-hither ornamentation—twirls, flutters, arabesques—and yet it never disturbs the clear, logical path she forges through the course of each work. Her staccato touch has the force of sprung steel and yet her legato line is a miracle of smoothness and transparency. An absolute joy' (Gramophone)

'Hewitt's Bach is well-known for its expressive restraint, lucid textures and rhythmic grace. These virtues are abundantly present in her thoughtful, unmannered approach to the Concertos. Contrapuntal arguments are admirably clear and Hewitt's restricted use of the sustaining pedal ensure a pleasing clarity of dialogue. These virtues are mirrored by the lightly articulated bowing of the strings of the Australian Chamber Orchestra under the direction of its leader Richard Tognetti … my own prefernce lies just with Hewitt and her Australian musicians' (BBC Music Magazine)

'These two discs, while available separately, go in tandem as a beguiling example of what can be achieved in performances of Baroque music on the piano when they have been prepared with such thought and are blessed with such compelling artistry as Angela Hewitt's. Her Bach catalogue for Hyperion is already extensive, and here she joins the outstanding Australian Chamber Orchestra for the six concertos and two other works that spotlight the keyboard, the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto and the A minor Triple Concerto with flute (Alison Mitchell) and violin (Richard Tognetti, who also directs the orchestra). The performances call on different traditions: Hewitt plays a modern Fazioli grand, the orchestra deploys certain historically aware techniques, to the extent of having a discreet harpsichord in the continuo part. But such is Hewitt's sensitivity to style, and such is the orchestra's versatility, that there is no sense of compromise or jarring anachronism. Rather, the two coalesce in interpretations of remarkable synergy and fascinating textures. The familiar argument that Bach would have written for a piano if only he had had one is nowhere given more persuasive advocacy than in Hewitt's singing melodic lines, her judicious range of tonal colouring and in her touch, which combines the crispness and full flavour of a fresh apple. Take a bite of any of these concertos, and you will want to make a whole meal of them' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Her fingers dance as well as sing: in the outer movements, rhythms are buoyantly sprung, and this communicates itself to the members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, whose slender string accompaniment in no way lessens their energy, while Hewitt responds by projecting the piano parts with all due attention to Bach's overall texture' (International Record Review)

'Here the Fazioli is heard at its exquisite best, its spongey bass chords pumping with clarity, its treble caressing a heart-tuggingly beautiful legato out of the slow movement, while the dainty strings sketch an almost tongue-in-cheek pizzicato in the background. Hewitt's sense of phrase is masterful … the statements have regal import under the authoritative hands of this queen of keyboard playing' (The Times)

'As always, she really sparkles in the allegros, infusing the music with wit as well as technical bravura' (The Sunday Times)

'The result of their historically informed modern-instrument take on the music is stunning, with crisp rhythms and singing melodic lines' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Hewitt's performances are brilliantly alive. Her subtle lyricism adds a rich, occasionally dark dimension, possibly not as Bach himself would have envisaged, but always with a deep sense of musical integrity' (The Scotsman)

'These are warmly involving interpretations of pioneering pieces' (HMV Choice)

'Her [Hewitt's] success comes from the shaping of each concerto, these are rhythmical, warm interpretations shimmering with boundless energy and skilled virtuosity' (Cathedral Music)

'Her playing is absolutely captivating: she decorates the solo part with playful, come-hither ornamentation—twirls, flutters, arabesques—and yet it never disturbs the clear, logical path she forges through the course of each work. Her staccato touch has the force of sprung steel and yet her legato line is a miracle of smoothness and transparency. An absolute joy' (Metro)
The most important thing to note about the Brandenburg Concerto No 5 in D major, BWV1050 is that this was the first time ever that the harpsichord had been used in a concerto for anything other than the continuo. Always in the background, providing the necessary colour and rhythmic stability (and often conducting as well), the continuo player never really had a chance to shine; but here he takes his revenge! At the beginning of the opening Allegro it almost seems as though the other soloists (flute and violin) have the more important musical dialogue, but gradually the keyboard asserts itself, finally brushing all others aside and launching into an extraordinary sixty-five-bar cadenza. If I say that it is all entirely written out by Bach, it is only because I am frequently asked after concert performances if I wrote it myself! It begins quite lyrically, but then comes a tremendous build-up over a long pedal point in the bass. Some really wild figurations and large jumps in the left hand take us to a climax in B minor. A brief five-bar bridge masterfully returns us to the tonic and the orchestral ritornello. It is thought that Bach might have been inspired to write such a piece to show off the new two-manual harpsichord he had just received from Berlin. It was certainly written with a powerful instrument in mind.

The second movement in B minor, marked Affettuoso, is a touching trio sonata for the three soloists. Unlike the middle movement of the Triple Concerto, however, there is need for a continuo group to accompany the flute and violin when the keyboard is not playing as a soloist. Normally, of course, the one harpsichordist would do both, but here we have used both instruments to clearly separate those passages. The mood is gentle and tender, but with the sense of sorrow that often seems to come with the key of B minor.

The final Allegro is a spirited gigue with an upbeat that gives it a wonderful ‘lift’. Throughout this concerto there is no second violin part – only a small ‘ripieno’ group. Bach himself usually played the viola, but obviously in this piece was seated at the harpsichord, so his place was no doubt filled by the second violinist.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2005

La chose la plus importante à dire du Concerto brandebourgeois no 5 en ré majeur, BWV1050, c’est qu’il fut le tout premier concerto à utiliser le clavecin pour autre chose que le continuo. Toujours en arrière-fond, fournissant la couleur et la stabilité rythmique nécessaires (et dirigeant aussi, souvent), le continuiste n’avait encore jamais vraiment eu l’occasion de briller; mais là, il prend sa revanche! Au début de l’Allegro initial, tout se passe comme si les autres solistes (flûte et violon) avaient le dialogue musical le plus important, mais le clavier s’affirme peu à peu pour finalement balayer tous les autres et se lancer dans une extraordinaire cadenza de soixante-cinq mesures. Si je précise qu’elle est entièrement de la main de Bach, c’est juste parce qu’on me demande souvent, après les concerts, si elle est de moi! Malgré un début fort lyrique, un immense développement survient, bâti sur une longue pédale à la basse. Des figurations proprement délirantes et de larges sauts à la main gauche nous mènent à un apogée en si mineur. Puis un bref pont de cinq mesures nous ramène magistralement à la tonique et au ritornello orchestral. On pense que Bach a pu écrire cette pièce pour mettre en valeur le nouveau clavecin à deux manuels qu’il venait de recevoir de Berlin – de fait, l’œuvre fut sans nul doute composée en songeant à un instrument puissant.

Le deuxième mouvement en si mineur, marqué Affettuoso, est une touchante sonate en trio destinée aux trois solistes. Mais, contrairement à ce qui se passe dans le mouvement central du Triple Concerto, il est necessaire qu’un ensemble-continuo accompagne la flûte et le violon quand le clavier ne joue pas en soliste. Normalement, bien sûr, le claveciniste assumait à lui seul les deux fonctions – solo et continuo –, mais nous avons préféré utiliser deux instruments pour bien séparer les passages. L’atmosphère est douce et tendre, mais avec ce sens de la tristesse que semble souvent induire si mineur.

L’Allegro final est une gigue enjouée, avec une anacrouse qui lui confère un «allant» merveilleux. Ce concerto ne présente absolument aucune seconde partie de violon, mais seulement un petit ensemble de «ripieno». Pour cette œuvre, Bach, à l’évidence, délaissait son alto habituel pour le clavecin, le second violon faisant alors office d’altiste.

extrait des notes rédigées par Angela Hewitt © 2005
Français: Hypérion

Das wichtigste Charakteristikum des Fünften Brandenburgischen Konzerts in D-Dur BWV1050 ist, dass hier das Cembalo in einem Konzert zum ersten Mal mehr als nur ein Continuo-Instrument ist. Sonst befand sich der Cembalist (bzw. Organist) immer im Hintergrund und sorgte für wichtige Klangfarben und rhythmische Stabilität (und dirigierte oft dazu) und hatte nie Gelegenheit, zu glänzen; hier jedoch kann er sich revanchieren! Zu Beginn des ersten Satzes, Allegro, hat es fast den Anschein, als dass die anderen Solisten (Flöte und Geige) den wichtigeren musikalischen Dialog hätten, doch setzt sich das Tasteninstrument langsam durch, schiebt alle anderen letztendlich beiseite und hebt zu einer außergewöhnlichen Kadenz von 65 Takten an. Wenn ich sage, dass diese Kadenz von Bach vollständig ausgeschrieben ist, dann nur, weil ich nach Konzerten regelmäßig gefragt werde, ob ich sie selbst geschrieben hätte! Sie beginnt recht lyrisch, doch dann folgt eine ungeheure Verdichtung über einem langen Orgelpunkt im Bass. Mehrere wilde Figurationen und große Sprünge in der linken Hand führen zu dem Höhepunkt in h-Moll hin. Eine kurze Überleitung von fünf Takten führt meisterhaft zur Tonika und zum Orchesterritornello zurück. Es wird angenommen, dass Bach dieses Stück möglicherweise komponierte, um das neue, zweimanualige Cembalo, das er gerade aus Berlin erhalten hatte, zu präsentieren. Das Werk entstand jedenfalls für ein kräftiges Instrument.

Der zweite Satz, eine ergreifende Triosonate für die drei Solisten, steht in h-Moll und ist mit Affettuoso überschrieben. Anders als in dem Mittelsatz des Tripelkonzerts wird hier eine Continuo-Gruppe zur Begleitung der Flöte und der Violine benötigt, wenn das Tasteninstrument nicht solistisch spielt. Normalerweise würde der Cembalist natürlich beide Aufgaben übernehmen, doch hier haben wir beide Instrumente eingesetzt, um diese Passagen deutlich voneinander zu trennen. Die Stimmung ist mild und sanft doch stets mit einem kummervollen Unterton, der sich so oft in h-Moll einstellt.

Der Schlusssatz, Allegro, ist eine lebhafte Gigue mit einem erbaulichen Auftakt. In dem Konzert ist nirgends eine zweite Violinstimme notiert – nur eine kleine „Ripieno“-Gruppe. Bach selbst übernahm zumeist den Bratschenpart, doch saß er in diesem Stück natürlich am Cembalo, so dass sein üblicher Platz sicherlich von dem zweiten Geiger eingenommen wurde.

aus dem Begleittext von Angela Hewitt © 2005
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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