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Track(s) taken from CDA67499

Sonata in D major, BWV963

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: 8 minutes 49 seconds
 
1
[no title]  [2'35]
2
[no title]  [1'08]
3
Fugue  [2'13]
4
Adagio  [1'01]
5

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)
This is the only keyboard sonata by Bach that is, as far as we know, both totally original (several others use material by Reinken) and not a transcription (as is his Sonata in D minor, BWV964). It could also be named ‘Toccata’, as its form is very similar to the keyboard pieces of that title, except for the omission of an opening flourish. The Sonata has five sections of which two are contrasting fugues. It opens with a very instrumental-like movement using antiphonal entries and with that feeling of festivity that so often comes with the key of D major in Bach. Then suddenly arrives an F sharp major chord, announcing a brief improvisation that seems to require the use of organ pedals to sustain the bass notes (I make use of the middle or sostenuto pedal to do the trick). This leads us nicely into the first fugue which is in B minor. Despite its rather percussive subject (four repeated notes) it remains calm and doesn’t get too excited. Another brief passage marked adagio uses the same musical material repeated many times to take us to the point where Bach wants to go (as he does in both the D minor and F sharp minor Toccatas). Finally we have the closing fugue, now firmly back in D major. Its title is intriguing: Thema all’ imitatio Gallina Cuccu (‘Theme in imitation of the chicken and the cuckoo’). And yes, there is the hen clucking away in the subject, and the cuckoo doing its thing in the countersubject. By the end, it’s quite a noisy farmyard! This was not the first time a composer had written a piece using bird-calls: Frescobaldi evidently wrote a Capriccio sopra il Cucco in 1624. It may not be Bach’s greatest inspiration, but it is amusing and brings this Sonata to a lively conclusion.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2004

Œuvre de jeunesse, la Sonate en ré majeur, BWV963 est la seule sonate pour clavier que Bach nous ait laissée et la seule, à notre connaissance, totalement originale (plusieurs autres utilisent des matériaux thématiques de Reinken). Elle n’est pas non plus une transcription (comme la Sonate en ré mineur, BWV964). On pourrait tout aussi bien l’appeler «Toccata» car sa forme est très proche des pièces pour clavier ainsi intitulées, exception faite de la figuration ornée initiale qui lui fait défaut. La Sonate comprend cinq sections dont deux sont des fugues contrastées. Elle s’ouvre par un mouvement d’allure instrumentale élaboré sur des entrées antiphoniques qui s’illustrent par une atmosphère festive très souvent associée à la tonalité de ré majeur chez Bach. Survient brusquement un accord de fa dièse majeur annonçant une courte improvisation qui semble requérir l’emploi du pédalier à l’orgue pour soutenir les notes graves (je me sers de la pédale sostenuto pour obtenir l’effet voulu). Ceci nous mène à la première fugue en si mineur. Malgré son sujet très percutant (quatre notes répétées), elle demeure empreinte de calme, sans trop d’excitation. Un autre passage concis noté adagio se sert du même matériau thématique énoncé à plusieurs reprises pour nous conduire là où Bach veut nous amener (comme il le fait dans les Toccatas en ré mineur et fa dièse mineur). Puis, nous arrivons à la fugue finale, fermement ancrée en ré majeur. Son titre est mystérieux: Thema all’ imitatio Gallina Cuccu (Thème en imitation de la poule et du coucou). En effet voici la poule en train de glousser dans le sujet et le coucou qui lui répond dans le contre-sujet. Quand on parvient à la conclusion, on se croirait dans une basse cour très animée! Ce n’était pas la première fois qu’un compositeur écrivait une pièce en se servant des bruits d’oiseaux: Frescobaldi vient immédiatement à l’esprit, avec son Capriccio sopra il Cucco de 1624. Si cette page ne fait peut-être pas preuve d’une inspiration sublime, elle est néanmoins amusante et conclut avec animation cette Sonate.

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

Es ist dies die einzige Klaviersonate von Bach, die, soweit bekannt, sowohl hundertprozentig von ihm stammt (in diversen anderen wird Material von Reinken verarbeitet) als auch keine Transkription ist (wie etwa seine Sonate in d-Moll, BWV964). Das Werk könnte auch den Titel „Toccata“ tragen, da die musikalische Form, mit Ausnahme der Anfangsfigur, dem Genre sehr ähnelt. Die Sonate hat fünf Teile, von denen zwei kontrastierende Fugen sind. Sie beginnt mit einem instrumental anmutenden Satz, in dem antiphonische Einsätze verwendet werden und der insgesamt recht festlich klingt – wie es so häufig bei Werken von Bach in D-Dur der Fall ist. Dann kommt plötzlich ein Fis-Dur-Akkord, der eine kurze Improvisation ankündigt, in der anscheinend das Orgelpedal benötigt wird, um die Bass-Noten auszuhalten (ich verwende hier das mittlere, beziehungsweise das rechte Pedal, um diesen Effekt zu erzielen). Diese Passage dient als Überleitung in die erste Fuge, die in h-Moll steht. Trotz des recht perkussiven Themas (vier Tonwiederholungen) behält dieser Teil seine Ruhe bei und wird nicht allzu energisch. In einer weiteren kurzen Passage, die mit Adagio überschrieben ist, erklingt das gleiche musikalische Material wieder und wieder, bis Bach an seinem Ziel angekommen ist (in der d-Moll und in der fis-Moll Toccata verfährt er ebenso). Schließlich erklingt die Schlussfuge und wir befinden uns wieder sicher in D-Dur. Der Titel ist interessant: Thema all’ imitatio Gallina Cuccu (Thema als Nachahmung der Henne und des Kuckucks). Und wirklich, die Henne gackert im Dux und der Kuckuck ruft im Comes. Gegen Ende haben wir einen recht lauten Bauernhof! Es war dies nicht das erste Mal, dass ein Komponist Vogelrufe vertonte: Frescobaldi hatte sein Capriccio sopra il Cucco bereits im Jahre 1624 geschrieben. Es ist dies vielleicht nicht Bachs inspiriertestes Stück, doch ist es humorvoll und lässt die Sonate auf temperamentvolle Weise enden.

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

Other albums featuring this work

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CDS44421/3515CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
Bach: Fantasia, Aria & other works
This album is not yet available for downloadSACDA67499Super-Audio CD — Deleted
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