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Track(s) taken from CDA67499

Aria Variata 'alla Maniera Italiana', BWV989

composer

Angela Hewitt (piano)
Recording details: February 2004
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: July 2004
Total duration: 16 minutes 12 seconds
 
1
Theme: Aria  [2'15]
2
3
Variation 2  [1'19]
4
Variation 3  [1'24]
5
6
7
8
9
10
Variation 9  [0'59]
11
Variation 10  [2'42]

Other recordings available for download

Matthew Halls (harpsichord)

Reviews

'a series of performances where freedom over articulation, phrasing, embellishment, dynamics and tempo is governed by an artistic sense of responsibility; and the whole recital is heard in a shrewdly balanced recording of fine tonal verisimilitude' (Gramophone)

'when Hewitt's technical refinement merges with the spirit as well as the letter of the music, miracles happen' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Here is another out and out winner from Angela Hewitt … The hallmark of her playing derives from just such a sharp definition of musical character. Be it light or solemn, her outlook on Bach is consistently enlivening' (The Daily Telegraph)

'This disc makes a piquant, unexpected conclusion to Hewitt's Bach cycle. Her many admirers will want to acquire it' (International Record Review)

'Hewitt plays all of this unfamiliar material with her usual flair and beguiling sound' (The Sunday Times)

'Hewitt's playing is tremendously well thought-out, the contrapuntal lines always shining clear, the articulation sprightly and the musicality unfailing' (Classic FM Magazine)

'the statuesque, beautiful, and brilliantly gifted Angela Hewitt has now joined the ranks of the great interpreters of Bach's keyboard music, and the effortless and natural readings on this and the other CDs in her cycle for Hyperion unquestionably number among the finest available. After discussion, debate—call it what you will—Angela Hewitt's recordings may be deemed unquestionably definitive' (Fanfare, USA)

'Angela Hewitt continues to confirm her status among pre-eminent Bach specialists…the individual pieces and Suites consitently reward the ear—novel and timeless at once' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'She continues to display the virtues that have made her one of the foremost Bach pianists on record, including beautiful tone, textural clarity, acute sensitivity to patterns of tension and resolution, a strong sense of dance, and refined attention to detail … In sum, a beautiful, profoundly satisfying recital and a fitting conclusion to a landmark (Goldberg)

'Hewitt has already exhausted the supply of critical superlatives in her devotion to Bach. Those who have loyally followed the Hyperion cycle will find that this terminal issue meets and exceeds the stringent standards which she set for herself. Hewitt presents a Bach of sensitivity and integrity for our time and always. Enjoyment of the disc is enhanced by the performer's lively and informative booklet note. Conventional CD sound quality is in the demonstration class. SACD playback (stereo is preferable to multi-channel) is as close as most of us will ever get to having Miss Hewitt and her concert Steinway perform in our listening rooms' (The Scene Musicale, Canada)
A work in A minor that appears in the Andreas Bach Book is the Aria Variata ‘alla Maniera Italiana’, BWV989. It probably dates from 1709, so is a relatively early work. In many ways it is similar to the organ chorale partitas (the theme here also has a chordal setting), but there are also things it shares with the ‘Goldberg’ Variations. The aria, for instance, is repeated at the end, although in BWV989 it is not an exact reiteration but rather another variation (the last, No X) with some slight changes. Still, it is moving to return to the mood of the opening, especially after the brilliance of the preceding two variations. Also like the ‘Goldberg’, the variations are based on the harmonic outline rather than on the opening melody. Each variation is in binary form (two sections, both repeated) and often requires some appropriate ornamentation to sustain the interest. Several different versions of the theme exist, the one in the Andreas Bach Book being by far the most richly ornamented. Not wanting to omit that one, yet liking the plainer outline of the theme for its initial statement, I include it on the repeat. There are some extremely wide stretches for the hands (in fact not just wide but impossible), making us think that perhaps it was written for some kind of pedal harpsichord. A few tempo indications have survived, but one in particular is a bit strange (largo for Variation I which seems crazy given the sparse material and rhythmic motive). In the end, musical common sense has to be used.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2004

Une œuvre en la mineur figure dans le Recueil Andreas Bach, l’Aria Variata ‘alla Maniera Italiana’, BWV989. Datant probablement de 1709, il s’agit d’une œuvre de la première période. Par bien des égards, elle ressemble aux partitas pour orgue (le thème est également réalisé sous une forme en accords). Par d’autres, elle a beaucoup en commun avec les Variations «Goldberg». L’air, par exemple, est repris à la fin, même si dans BWV989, il ne s’agit pas d’une citation exacte mais plutôt d’une autre variation (la dixième et dernière de l’œuvre). Renouer avec l’atmosphère du début procure cependant une certaine émotion, en particulier à cause du brio des deux variations qui la précèdent. A l’image des Variations «Goldberg», celles-ci sont conçues sur les contours harmoniques plutôt que sur la mélodie initiale. Ecrite sous une forme binaire (deux sections, toutes deux répétées) chaque variation requiert quelques ornementations appropriées pour soutenir l’intérêt. Il existe plusieurs versions différentes du même thème, celle du Recueil Andreas Bach étant la plus richement ornée. Ne voulant pas l’omettre, et aimant par ailleurs les contours plus sobres du thème dans son énoncé initial, j’ai choisi de l’inclure dans la reprise. De très grands écarts sont exigés (frisant parfois l’impossible), ce qui nous a conduit à penser que cette œuvre ait pu être écrite pour une sorte de clavecin à pédalier. Quelques indications de tempo ont survécu. L’une d’entre elles est plus particulièrement étrange (le largo de la Variation I semble totalement déplacé étant donné le matériau épuré et le motif rythmique). En fin de compte c’est le bon sens musical qui a prévalu.

extrait des notes rédigées par Angela Hewitt © 2004
Français: Isabelle Battioni

Ein Werk in a-Moll, das in dem Andreas Bach Buch notiert ist, ist die Aria Variata „alla Maniera Italiana“, BWV989. Es entstand wahrscheinlich 1709 und ist damit ein recht frühes Werk. Es ähnelt den Choral-Partiten für Orgel in vielerlei Hinsicht (das Thema ist auch akkordisch gesetzt), jedoch weist es auch Parallelen zu den Goldberg-Variationen auf. Die Aria wird beispielsweise am Ende wiederholt, obwohl in BWV989 keine wortwörtliche Wiederholung stattfindet, sondern eher eine weitere Variation (die letzte, Nr. X) mit einigen kleinen Veränderungen erklingt. Trotzdem ist es ergreifend, zu der Atmosphäre des Anfangs zurückzukehren, besonders nach den vorangehenden zwei Variationen, die besonders brillant gestaltet sind. Ebenso wie die Goldberg-Variationen basieren diese Variationen eher auf einem harmonischen Gerüst denn einer Anfangsmelodie. Alle Variationen sind zweiteilig (jeder Teil wird jeweils wiederholt) und müssen oft entsprechend verziert werden, um das Interesse aufrecht zu erhalten. Es existieren verschiedene Versionen des Themas, jedoch ist die im Andreas Bach Buch die am meisten ausgeschmückte. Um diese Fassung nicht auszulassen, gleichzeitig jedoch den Anfang schlicht zu halten, habe ich die Version als Wiederholung eingefügt. Beide Hände müssen zuweilen sehr weit gespreizt werden (in Wahrheit nicht nur sehr weit, sondern unmöglich weit), so dass die Vermutung nahe liegt, dass dieses Werk wohl für eine Art Pedal-Cembalo geschrieben wurde. Einige Tempo-Anweisungen sind überliefert, von denen eine jedoch etwas seltsam ist (Largo für die erste Variation, was angesichts des spärlichen Materials und der rhythmischen Motive verrückt scheint). Letztendlich muss ein gesundes, praktisches Musikverständnis angewandt werden.

aus dem Begleittext von Angela Hewitt © 2004
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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