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Track(s) taken from CDA67875

Nocturne No 13 in B minor, Op 119

December 1921

Angela Hewitt (piano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: August 2012
Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: September 2013
Total duration: 8 minutes 29 seconds

Cover artwork: Autumn Effect at Argenteuil (1873) by Claude Monet (1840-1926)
© Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London / Bridgeman Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Kathryn Stott (piano)


'Hewitt's way with the Valses-caprices is scintillating and extrovert, most notably in the second waltz's swing-high, swing-low teasing sophistication … she is notably sensitive, too, to the openings of Nocturnes Nos 6 and 13, and to the latter's anguished utterance … Hewitt's excellently recorded disc (as bright as the playing) provides an invigorating modern alternative' (Gramophone)

'Take a French composer with a contrapuntal bent, whose music requires a rigour, poise and nuance akin to that of a ballet dancer. Then choose a pianist, such as Angela Hewitt, whose feel for all these qualities is a given. The result is an exquisite Fauré recital … Hewitt's clarity is exemplary. The purity and strong, supple backbone of her playing lets Fauré's inventive genius, his extraordinary sensitivity to colour, harmonic shading, texture and eloquence, shine on its own terms' (BBC Music Magazine)

'It is strange how little of Fauré’s piano music seems to be part of the regular repertoire nowadays compared with, say, Debussy or Ravel. It is even stranger when you hear it played with such captivating élan and finesse as by Angela Hewitt. With her radiant sparkle in two Valse-caprices, the sun seems to shine, and she traces a whole rainbow of moods through three nocturnes (Nos 5, 6 and 13), the early Ballade and the Thème et variations Op 73. Utterly delightful' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Those unfamiliar with Fauré's keyboard works will find that Hewitt's selection provides a perfect introduction, She is complemented by a fabulous recording quality and an instrument (her trusty Fazioli) that does her justice at every turn' (International Record Review)

'A very thoughtfully planned sequence, beautifully executed; the sharply contrasting characters of each of the variations are perfectly focused, while the joyous exuberance of the early Ballade sweeps all before it. She's equally precise and revealing in the apparently slighter works, too, finding just a hint of the danger that gives the French waltz its special edge in the Valses-caprices, and including two of the greatest of the nocturnes: the sixth in D flat major and the 13th in B minor, Fauré's last and profoundly tragic piano work. All these pieces are presented with exemplary clarity and wonderfully crystalline tone' (The Guardian)

'Hewitt knows that some regard the composer’s Nocturnes, Ballade, and Theme and Variations Opus 73 as 'salon' music, and sets out to prove that these short pieces are as complex and nuanced at heart as they are serene and accessible on the surface. Particularly masterly are the variations, the heartbreaking 7th and final 12th very lovely' (The Independent on Sunday)

'A thoughtful and satsifying Fauré selection traversing his career and showing his art in diverse hues … Hewitt's interpretations are powerful and poetic' (The Sunday Times)

'Hewitt brings not just an intimate grasp of the music’s harmonic and technical demands, but an essential refinement—most evident in the Theme and Variations, in which she finds élan, lightness and grandeur without overemphasising the differences between the 11 variations. As for the Valses-caprices, you can’t mistake Hewitt’s delight in the playful passage-work' (Financial Times)

'Angela Hewitt is totally sympathetic to Fauré's sometimes elusive world and her Fazioli piano is superbly recorded' (Liverpool Daily Post)
Written in 1921, three years before fauré’s death, the tragic despair of the Thirteenth Nocturne shares its depth of feeling with few other works in the piano repertoire. Certainly nothing like this was written by Debussy or Ravel, and only in the last pages of Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart or Bach can parallels be found to its austere heartbreak. The work can be regarded as autobiographical. For the last few years of his life the composer suffered from a distressing hearing defect which caused him to hear distortion in the higher frequencies of the sound spectrum. Knowing this, the chains of suspensions which open this last Nocturne take on an added significance. (One is reminded of the last movement of Smetana’s Quartet ‘From my life’ where the piercing high E of the violin symbolizes the sound he heard in his head; he suffered from tinnitus.) The piece as a whole is filled with a feeling of regret and valediction, with a vehement and angry middle section rising to a climax of the greatest fury. Because one knows and loves Fauré for his understating of such feelings, the unmistakable note of despair which this reveals is all the more affecting. It ends on a note of utter resignation, the music of a man on the threshold of death. This music does not reveal its secrets easily and at first may appear arid and academic. But the essence of Fauré is in it, and not until one has entered its tragic world can one truly be said to understand him.

from notes by Ted Perry © 1999

Ultime composition pianistique de Fauré, cette pièce surprenante, écrite en 1921, trois ans avant la mort de l’artiste, recèle un désespoir tragique dont la profondeur ne se rencontre que dans quelques rares œuvres du répertoire pour piano. Debussy ou Ravel n’écrivirent certainement rien d’équivalent, et l’austère déchirement de cette pièce ne trouve de parallèle que dans les dernières pages de Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart ou Bach. Cette composition peut être considérée comme autobiographique, car Fauré souffrit, dans les dernières années de sa vie, d’un pénible défaut d’audition, qui lui faisait entendre des distorsions dans les fréquences supérieures du spectre sonore—les chaînes de retard qui ouvrent ce dernier nocturne revêtent dès lors une importance accrue. (Dans le dernier mouvement du Quatuor «De ma vie» de Smetana, le perçant mi aigu du violon symbolise, à l’identique, le son que le musicien entendait dans sa tête—il souffrait d’acouphène.) La pièce est globalement emplie d’un sentiment de regret et d’adieu, avec une section centrale véhémente et irritée, qui atteint à un apogée des plus furieux. Que l’on connaisse, et que l’on aime, Fauré pour ses litotes quant à pareils sentiments, ne fait que rendre plus touchante l’immanquable note de désespoir révélée par cette pièce. L’œuvre s’achève sur une résignation absolue—la musique d’un homme au seuil de la mort. Cette musique ne dévoile pas facilement ses secrets et pourrait, de prime abord, sembler aride et académique. Mais elle recèle l’essence de Fauré, et c’est seulement après avoir pénétré son univers tragique que l’on peut déclarer véritablement comprendre ce compositeur.

extrait des notes rédigées par Ted Perry © 1999
Français: Hypérion

Das 1921, drei Jahre vor Faurés Tod entstandene Dreizehnte Nocturne teilt seine Gefühlstiefe mit wenigen anderen Werken im Klavierrepertoire. Auf jeden Fall haben weder Debussy noch Ravel etwas Vergleichbares geschrieben, und erst auf den letzten Seiten des Gesamtwerks von Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart oder Bach finden sich Parallelen zu seiner kargen, herzzerreißenden Atmosphäre. Dieses Werk kann als autobiographisch angesehen werden. In den letzten Jahren seines Lebens litt der Komponist unter einem quälenden Gehörschaden, der dazu führte, daß er in den höheren Frequenzen des Klangspektrums Verzerrungen hörte. In Anbetracht dessen nehmen die aneinandergereihten Vorhalte, die das letzte Nocturne einleiten, zusätzliche Bedeutung an. (Man fühlt sich an den letzten Satz von Smetanas Quartett „Aus meinem Leben“ erinnert, wo das durchdringende hohe E der Violine das Geräusch verkörpert, das er in seinem Kopf hörte: Er litt unter Tinnitus.) Das Stück ist insgesamt mit einem Gefühl des Bedauerns und des Abschiednehmens erfüllt, und ein heftiger, aufbrausender Mittelteil steigert sich zu einem Höhepunkt äußerster Wut. Gerade weil man Fauré wegen seiner Zurückhaltung bei derlei Gefühlsäußerungen kennt und liebt, ist die unverkennbare Verzweiflung, der sich hier offenbart, umso ergreifender. Das Stück endet mit einem Anflug gänzlicher Resignation—der Musik eines Mannes an der Schwelle des Todes. Diese Musik verrät nicht ohne weiteres ihre Geheimnisse und mag zunächst trocken und akademisch wirken. Doch sie enthält die Essenz Faurés, und man kann erst von sich behaupten, ihn zu verstehen, wenn man in ihre tragische Welt eingedrungen ist.

aus dem Begleittext von Ted Perry © 1999
Deutsch: Anne Steeb/Bernd Müller

Other albums featuring this work

Fauré: Piano Music
Fauré: The Complete Music for Piano
CDS44601/44CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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