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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67451/2
Recording details: April 2003
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: September 2003
Total duration: 20 minutes 35 seconds

'The standard of excellence Angela Hewitt has set in previous installments in her Hyperion Bach cycle continues unabated with the English Suites' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Once again, Angela Hewitt proves that she's one of the most penetrating interpreters of Bach on the piano, with a superlative account of the six English Suites. She's an astonishingly supple player, elegant in the French dance elements, brilliant in the Italianate flourishes, and fully in control of the works' complex chromaticisms. Another tour de force from this wonderful player' (The Independent)

'Now regarded as one of the most consistently refreshing interpreters of Bach on the modern piano…As ever, Hewitt brings this music to life with remarkably crisp articulation in the brisk contrapuntal movements, deep feeling in the sarabandes and exhilarating joie de vivre in the final gigues' (The Sunday Times)

'I thoroughly enjoy Hewitt's unaffected playing, her easy-going virtuosity, careful dynamics, and frequent grace, as well as power' (Fanfare, USA)

'This is arguably the finest recording of these works on modern piano. Hewitt projects the different characters of individual dances, as well as those of entire suites, with great beauty, clarity and refinement … this might well be the finest set of English Suites on the piano' (Goldberg)

English Suite No 4 in F major, BWV809

Prelude  [4'33]
Allemande  [3'23]
Courante  [1'56]
Sarabande  [3'52]
Menuet I and II  [3'41]
Gigue  [3'10]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The English Suite No 4 in F major, BWV809 immediately establishes a positive, bright, assertive colour in the opening Prelude which is also very orchestral in character. The episode which begins in bar 20 is very similar to material presented by the harpsichord soloist in the opening movement of his Brandenburg Concerto No 5. Likewise, the theme that first appears in bar 28 is a direct quote from the B flat minor Prelude of the second book of the Well-Tempered Clavier (written much later), although in a totally different mood. The indication vitement was added to some copies, most likely to prevent the player from taking too slow a tempo rather than adopting a very quick one. The length of the final chord (only a crotchet) should be observed.

The sunny flavour of this suite continues in the Allemande with its groups of triplets that lighten the mood. Here the similarity is to the same dance in the Partita No 5 in G major. What a nice contrast it is to the other Allemandes of the set! There are, nevertheless, tinges of darkness towards the end of each section which add a bit of spice. After another French Courante which continues in the same happy mood, comes a Sarabande of pure delight. Compared to the ones we have already encountered, it looks bare on the page, and there are no variants left by Bach. It is up to the performer, therefore, to do his own, as it can’t possibly be left that way. The chromatic bass that moves upwards four bars from the end is especially beautiful. This Sarabande provides the suite with a moment of complete repose. The only pair of minuets in the English Suites now follows, and both are very melodic and full of the grace and good manners associated with this dance. The second is in D minor, contrasting nicely with the first. To end the work, Bach writes a Giga di caccia imitating hunting horns in the highest of spirits, bringing it all to a joyful conclusion.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2003

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)  
'Bach: The English Suites' (SACDA67451/2)
Bach: The English Suites
This album is not yet available for download SACDA67451/2  2CDs Super-Audio CD — Deleted  
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