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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67191/2
Recording details: June 1996
Beethovensaal, Hannover, Germany
Produced by Otto Ernst Wohlert
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: April 1997
Total duration: 17 minutes 56 seconds

'Effortlessly eclipsing all competition … the whole disc gives unalloyed pleasure; definitely one of my choices of the year' (Gramophone)

'One of the outstanding Bach pianists of our time, her playing of the great Partitas is something very special indeed. She is formidably equipped for this demanding music – technically, musically, intellectually. These are discs to play again and again and marvel at the artistry' (The Sunday Times)

'Everything has been deeply considered. Everything works. Hewitt makes a beautiful, limpid sound; her ornaments are exquisitely precise as well as sounding natural; she uses the subtle shadings and variations of volume possible on the piano without swamping the music. Technically the paying is faultless … superbly poised, light and joyous. Indeed, that would sum up the entire set' (Classic CD)

'Hyperion gives us something to treasure here. I recommend this set without reservation' (Raidió Teilifís Éireann, Ireland)

'For this pair of discs only superlatives will do. Replete with inventiveness at its most outstanding. My appreciation of this Canadian pianist is enormous; I classify her among the top performers of our time' (Soundscapes, Australia)

'Pouvait-on imaginer Bach aussi limineux, brillant? … Un exercice 'parfait', à écouter et é réécouter pour un savourer toute la puissance, toute l'éloquence (Répertoire, France)

'Une interprète qui mérite d'être suivi avec la plus grand attention' (Diapason, France)

Partita No 1 in B flat major, BWV825
composer
1726

Praeludium  [1'49]
Allemande  [3'04]
Corrente  [3'13]
Sarabande  [4'32]
Giga  [2'10]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In publishing his Opus 1, Bach most probably wanted to begin with something highly accessible and attractive, yet worthy of his art. The Partita No 1 in B flat is certainly the most approachable of the six, and the one most pianists attempt first. It continues in the spirit of the French Suites, combining grace, agility, sprightliness, and nobility. The trill at the opening of the Praeludium is the first problem to solve – especially since it has to be played with equal precision later on by the left hand. This is a movement of beautiful proportions with a built-in crescendo at the end (Bach doubling the left hand in octaves). The themes of almost all the subsequent dance movements are centred around a broken B flat major chord – the Allemande with its unbroken line of semiquavers, the Corrente with triplets, the first Menuet in quavers. The Sarabande unfolds with great dignity and calm despite Bach’s florid melody and trills. To finish Bach wrote what has surely become one of his ‘greatest hits’: the brilliance of the hand-crossing in the Giga, once mastered, is exciting to both player and audience alike.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 1997

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