Alex Baran
The Whole Note, Canada
October 2015

Hewitt’s recording of Beethoven Piano Sonatas puts a pair of early works up against two considerably later utterances in the form. Hyperion produced this 2014 concert recording on a Fazioli in a Berlin church with an acoustic that offers a perfectly balanced space around the piano. One only ever hears more of the room when the music rises above forte and, even so, the intimacy of the performance is never lost.

Following Hewitt on Facebook, one stays in touch with her travels, rehearsals, recording sessions and performances. It makes listening to her CDs rather like going to a friend’s home for a private recital. She is a fastidious player when it comes to articulation and her phrasings are masterful in both the Op 2 and Op 10 sonatas where echoes of classical structure are quite pronounced. Hewitt delivers everything from the crispest staccatos to the gentlest lifts in defining the inner voices that Beethoven weaves throughout. The Adagio of the C Minor Sonata is especially engaging because Hewitt understands how Beethoven wants to unsettle its pretty little thematic idea. She does this beautifully.

Hewitt’s approach to the A-Flat Major Sonata Op 110 second movement is a good deal less frenetic than many pianists often take but never lacks for convincing energy. The final movement is, however, the most arresting. Here Hewitt creates a profound air of mystery around the extended Adagio that sustains the listener for about eight minutes until she breaks into the closing fugue. A terrific disc.