Introducing her rapturous and rhapsodic album Love Songs, the pianist Angela Hewitt quotes Hector Berlioz. Debating the relative powers of love and music, he concludes: 'Love can give no idea of music: music can give an idea of love … why separate one from the other? They are the two wings of the soul.' With that as her premise, the renowned Canadian pianist has compiled nearly two dozen 'songs without words', all but two (by Grieg) arrangements by other composers.
It’s a beguiling collection, from Liszt’s great transcriptions of Schumann (including Widmung) and Schubert, to Percy Grainger’s renderings of Fauré and Gershwin, via Max Reger’s workings of Richard Strauss and Hewitt’s own reimagining of the Adagietto from Mahler’s Symphony No 5. She recounts how this long-held hope of a disc turned into reality in lockdown. With everything cancelled, she had time to make an intricately constructed recital, and learn the new repertoire: a change from the heavy-weight works of the canon in which she excels, and a delight.