Angela Hewitt, piano
October 17 2019
Review: William Ruff
Angela Hewitt: an artist of flawless technique and probing intelligence
Angela Hewitt is a phenomenon. For many in Thursday’s Lakeside audience she is beyond doubt the world’s greatest exponent of Bach’s keyboard music. She is currently in the middle of her Bach odyssey, performing every one of his keyboard works in concerts around the world. And by my calculation that’s at least 160 pieces.
And what sounds like an exhausting international schedule still allows her time to visit Lakeside, something she has been doing regularly since the venue opened in 1994. Angela Hewitt and Lakeside’s Djanogly Recital Hall could have been made for each other, the jewel-like clarity and precision of her playing being matched by acoustics which allow every note to bloom.
On Thursday she played Bach’s English Suites Nos 4-6, which have just about nothing to do with England apart from the fact that he may have written them for an English aristocrat. Each suite starts with a substantial Prelude followed by a sequence of dances. Last season Lakeside staged a highly entertaining baroque dance concert so I’m better at spotting a courante than I was but need to make more progress with my passepied, allemande, gavotte and sarabande.
Angela Hewitt is an artist of flawless technique and probing intelligence, constantly offering insights into the architecture of whole movements as well as small phrases. For instance, in the Prelude to the 6th Suite one could only marvel at her grasp of the music’s formal complexity and the way she presented it with such contagious exuberance. Her way with ornamentation was consistently beautiful and in something like the allemande of the 5th Suite, the music’s subtlety was carried off with gentle elegance.
She played Bach’s D major Sonata too and also a Couperin encore. It was all quite an occasion. And the audience loved it – and her.
Angela Hewitt (piano) playing at Lakeside, Nottingham University.