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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: 32 minutes 31 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 6 in E minor, BWV830

Allemande  [3'27]
Corrente  [4'48]
Air  [1'34]
Sarabande  [7'24]
Tempo di Gavotta  [2'03]
Gigue  [6'04]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
With the Partita No 6 in E minor Bach gives us one of his greatest masterpieces. It is a stupendous work on the grandest scale – one in which we feel his incredible strength of character, security, warmth of heart and deep faith. Here he is no longer writing for popular appeal but on the highest intellectual and emotional plane. The work opens with a Toccata where similar outer sections frame an extended fugue. Both the opening measure and the subject of the fugue make use of the ‘sigh’ motif (a descending appoggiatura) to add extra expressivity. By keeping the same basic tempo throughout the Toccata, unity is achieved (this seems to be called for by Bach as material from the first page later appears in the last episode of the fugue). The Allemande, with its poignant chromaticisms, is followed by a remarkable Corrente. One’s fingers can take an almost physical pleasure in executing its mischievous syncopations with delicacy, rapidity and brilliance. A brief Air, with a surprising second ending, precedes the Sarabande – surely one of Bach’s greatest creations. At first sight (or upon first hearing) this movement can seem baffling. It takes time to discover the framework beneath the profusion of notes, and to realize its emotional power. For me Bach is alone in this Sarabande – alone in communion with his maker in a dialogue that is at once sorrowful, hopeful, passionate, and at times exalted (the marvellous, brief modulations into major keys in bars 7, 8 and 30 interrupt the darkness with flashes of light). To go from deep inside Bach’s inner world (and therefore our own) straight into the Tempo di Gavotta can come as a bit of a shock, but we can only marvel at how Bach immediately begins to dance – even in a minor key. This is not a true gavotte – it is much more like an Italian Giga in 12/8 time. In this, and in the concluding Gigue, the interpreter faces the problem of possible alteration of note values. Playing the semiquavers to coincide with the triplets gives the Tempo di Gavotta more bounce (as does the shortening of the first two notes in the right hand). There are two very different ways of playing the Gigue fugue. One is to play a version in triple metre, bringing it somewhat closer to a traditional jig; the other is to play it exactly as written, emphasizing its angularity. I opt for the latter both because I feel the fugue subject loses force if altered and also to provide greater contrast with the preceding gavotte. Bach really outdoes himself in this final Gigue, demanding the utmost in mental virtuosity from the player. At a lively tempo the severe counterpoint can still be made to dance. Even if, in the six Partitas, my greatest affection lies with the D major Allemande, for this final Partita I say to Bach, ‘Hats off!’

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 1997

Other albums featuring this work
'Bach: Angela Hewitt plays Bach' (CDS44421/35)
Bach: Angela Hewitt plays Bach
MP3 £45.00FLAC £45.00ALAC £45.00Buy by post £50.00 CDS44421/35  15CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
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