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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67191/2
Recording details: January 1997
Beethovensaal, Hannover, Germany
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: April 1997
Total duration: 20 minutes 47 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 5 in G major, BWV829

Praeambulum  [2'17]
Allemande  [4'01]
Corrente  [1'54]
Sarabande  [4'58]
Passepied  [1'53]
Gigue  [4'02]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The key of G major always seems to inspire Bach to write music of great radiance, joy, gentleness and technical display (the ‘Goldberg’ Variations and the fifth French Suite come immediately to mind). The Partita No 5 in G major is no exception. He opens in playful mood with a Praeambulum, the first four bars of which become a kind of ritornello. The necessary hand-crossing adds visual effect. The assimilation of rhythms in the lyrical Allemande (playing the dotted rhythms to coincide with the triplets) brings an extra touch of grace. Agility and lightness of touch are required in the Corrente – harmonically the simplest such dance in the set. Ornamentation is an integral part of the exquisite Sarabande. Unlike those of the French Suites, the Sarabandes of the Partitas are already very florid and seem to require few additions from the interpreter, but not in this case. The use of double-dotting gives the rhythm extra poise and expressivity. Upon first hearing, the next movement, Tempo di Minuetta, is confusing. Surely a minuet has three beats to a bar, not two. Bach combines the two to make a whimsical, delicate dance. The 3/8 swing of the Passepied reminds me of the fourth variation of the ‘Goldberg’, having the same rustic charm. If it were not for the difficulty of the final Gigue, this Partita would probably be performed more often, but here Bach really goes to town with a double fugue – perhaps the most technically challenging movement of the six Partitas.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 1997

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