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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67607/8
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: 20 minutes 7 seconds

'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)

Triple Concerto in A minor, BWV1044
composer

Allegro  [8'35]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Triple Concerto in A minor, BWV1044 uses the same solo group as does the Brandenburg Concerto No 5 (keyboard, flute and violin). It is, however, totally different in many ways, the first being that the keyboard part (with the exception of the cadenza of the Brandenburg) is far more present and is easily the most prominent of the three solo instruments in the outer movements. Perhaps this is because those movements originated as a solo keyboard work, the Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV894. It makes a fascinating study to compare the two versions to see how effortlessly he turned a solo prelude into an imposing concerto movement. It also is a clue to how we should conceive and interpret many of his solo pieces in orchestral terms. This long movement is driven forward with the use of triplets, dotted notes and pizzicatos.

The second movement is a transcription of the middle movement of the Trio Sonata in D minor, BWV527 for organ. Originally in F major, it is set here in C major. It is almost in the style galant of his son, C P E Bach, although the chromaticisms give him away, as do the amazing shifts in tonality. The dialogue between the three soloists is continuous, but finally comes to rest on the dominant of A minor (the same type of cadence is used at the end of the slow movement of the F minor Concerto). To the original tempo marking of Adagio Bach adds ma non tanto which should serve as a warning not to take it too slowly.

In the solo harpsichord version, the last movement was a fugal moto perpetuo that simply allowed the soloist to show off. With the addition of the orchestra and other soloists, however, Bach produces a work of amazing impact and religious fervour. The swirling triplets of the keyboard part are introduced, interrupted, and finally concluded by a rousing chorus written in alla breve time and reminiscent of the stile antico (Renaissance polyphony). Throughout, everyone but the keyboard player sticks with subject material from this introduction, which is really a variation of the harmonic outline of the fugal subject. Outbursts of quite ferocious chords from the orchestra seem like a condemnation of the sinners. The climax comes with a cadenza for keyboard written over a long pedal point. The final tutti has two different endings in various editions: either major or minor. We have opted for the feeling of hope and salvation that the major mode implies.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2005

Other albums featuring this work
'Bach: Keyboard Concertos' (CDA30003)
Bach: Keyboard Concertos
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £8.50 CDA30003  Hyperion 30th Anniversary series  
'Bach: The Keyboard Concertos, Vol. 1' (CDA67307)
Bach: The Keyboard Concertos, Vol. 1
'Bach: The Keyboard Concertos, Vol. 1' (SACDA67307)
Bach: The Keyboard Concertos, Vol. 1
This album is not yet available for download SACDA67307  Super-Audio CD — Deleted  
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