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Track(s) taken from CDA67310

Toccata in G minor, BWV915


Angela Hewitt (piano)
Recording details: January 2002
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: July 2002
Total duration: 9 minutes 0 seconds


'Her performances could hardly be more stylish or impeccable, more vital or refined; and, as a crowning touch, Hyperion's sound is superb' (Gramophone)

'Angela Hewitt’s intelligent virtuosity, stylish command and uncluttered musicianship not only serve the composer well, but also prove how vibrant and expressive the toccatas can and should sound on the modern concert grand' (BBC Music Magazine)

'imaginative and exciting performances' (The Observer)

'She proves once again that she is an exemplary exponent of Bach’s keyboard music on the piano, making these complex pieces flow with uninterrupted inspiration' (The Independent)

'a lovely tone, a seamless legato, some delicious dissonances – perfectly gauged and subtly nuanced – and some probing recitatives’ (American Record Guide)

'In Hewitt’s hands [the toccatas] evince a molten quality that places the listener in close proximity to the act of composition' (International Record Review)

'Like the music itself, the performances brim with that improvisatory spontaneity that is the hallmark of this player’s style' (The Sunday Times)

'faultless articulation and sensitive phrasing' (Classic FM Magazine)

'interpretations that are first class from beginning to end' (Fanfare, USA)

'Hewitt brings a sublime grace and thoroughly musical fluidity to Bach’s endlessly creative writing … fabulously involving and beautifully performed' (HMV Choice)

'She succeeds remarkably in giving each work a differently slanted emotional colour, while every detail emerges with glittering definition … a fine disc' (Pianist)

'This album is now the benchmark recording of these works on the piano' (Goldberg)

'There is much brilliant playing here … the total impression is of interpretations that are superbly performed, clean, clear and serious' (International Piano)

'Exquisite playing … This disc reinforces Hewitt's position as one of the supreme Bach interpreters and provides the ideal entry point for newcomers to her' (Music Week)

'This disc is a delight from start to finish, a disc to lift the saddest of spirits' (BBCi)

'Interpretations of the highest quality … For sheer virtuosity she makes us hold our breath at the combination of clarity, dynamic variety and structural comprehension, which is faultlessly conveyed' (Musical Opinion)

'La pianiste possède en effet une très belle sonorité, travaillée et personelle’ (Classica, France)
The Toccata in G minor, BWV915 has many distinctive features, including a cyclic feeling (the opening flourish returns at the end of the piece), and a concluding four-part fugue that obstinately remains in dotted rhythm throughout. In between we have a short adagio, and a cheerful allegro in B flat major which is in total contrast to the difficult, but very exciting fugue. Concerning the latter, only Bach could write so imaginatively on what seems at first like a very dull subject. With him, repetition of a motive only builds excitement and strength rather than causing us to lose attention. This is one fugue that is a perfect example of what the piano can bring to Bach. On the harpsichord it is relentless. On the piano one can lighten the second and fourth beats, giving the subject a welcome buoyancy which serves to enhance its power and character. The episodes can also be coloured differently, especially the one in E flat major which provides some welcome relief. The insistent character of the fugue is emphasized in a passage right before the end where part of the countersubject is presented in both hands simultaneously in parallel thirds.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2002

La Toccata en sol mineur, BWV915 possède maints éléments distinctifs, notamment une sensation de cycle (le motif orné initial étant repris à la fin de l’œuvre), et une fugue à quatre voix conclusive s’inscrivant obstinément dans un rythme pointé. Entre les deux figurent un adagio concis, et un allegro en si bémol majeur joyeux lequel se pose en contraste complet à la fugue, extrêmement difficile certes, mais absolument passionnante. Il est à noter, à propos de cette fugue, que seul Bach pouvait parvenir à écrire avec autant d’imagination à partir d’un sujet apparemment bien terne. Avec lui, la répétition de ce motif ne fait qu’augmenter l’excitation et la force du propos plutôt que d’égarer notre attention. Cette fugue est un exemple parfait de ce que le piano peut apporter à Bach. Au clavecin, elle est implacable. Au piano, on peut alléger les deuxième et quatrième temps, donnant au sujet un entrain léger qui permet d’en amplifier la force et le caractère. Les épisodes peuvent aussi être colorés de manière différente, en particulier celui en mi bémol majeur qui fournit un apaisement bienvenu. Le caractère insistant de la fugue est accentuée dans un passage juste avant la conclusion où une partie du contre-sujet est énoncée simultanément aux deux mains en tierces parallèles.

extrait des notes rédigées par Angela Hewitt © 2002
Français: Isabelle Battioni

Die Toccata in g-Moll, BWV915 hat viele Charakteristika, so etwa eine gewisse Zyklen­haftigkeit (die Anfangsgeste kehrt am Ende des Stückes wieder) und eine abschließende vier­stimmige Fuge, durch die sich hartnäckig ein punktierter Rhythmus zieht. Dazwischen ist ein kurzes Adagio sowie ein fröhliches Allegro in B-Dur, das im völligen Kontrast zu der schweren, jedoch sehr anregenden Fuge steht. Zu letzterer ist anzumerken, dass wohl nur Bach ein Thema, das auf den ersten Blick so langweilig erscheint, so einfallsreich gestalten konnte. Bei ihm wird durch die Wiederholung eines Motivs die Spannung eher aufgebaut, als dass die Aufmerksamkeit des Zuhörers abflachen würde. Diese Fuge ist das beste Beispiel dafür, wie gut das Klavier zu Bach passt. Auf dem Cembalo klingt sie erbarmungslos. Auf dem Klavier können die jeweils zweiten und vierten Schläge leichter gespielt werden, was dem Thema einen angenehmen Schwung verleiht, der die Kraft und den Charakter verstärkt. Die Zwischenspiele können ebenfalls klanglich variiert gespielt werden, besonders dasjenige in Es-Dur, was willkommene Erleichterung verschafft. Der insistierende Charakter der Fuge wird durch eine Passage kurz vor Ende betont, als ein Teil des Comes in beiden Händen gleichzeitig in Terzparallelen präsentiert wird.

aus dem Begleittext von Angela Hewitt © 2002
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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Bach: Angela Hewitt plays Bach
CDS44421/3515CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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