Bach: Keyboard Concertos (2CD)

Hyperion
$59.99
Current Stock:
SKU:
CDA676078
Artist:
Angela Hewitt, Australian Chamber Orchestra

These CDs contain all Bach’s extant concertos that feature a solo keyboard. Most were written in the 1730s and are thought to be arrangements of earlier concertos, many of which are now lost (though two will be recognized as Bach’s E major and A minor violin concertos and the sixth is an arrangement of the fourth Brandenburg). The fifth Brandenburg Concerto, with harpsichord, flute and violin soloists, dates from 1721 and is generally regarded as the first concerto for a solo keyboard instrument ever written. Bach made the keyboard part particularly brilliant and included a huge cadenza; he certainly knew how to establish a genre with a bang!

Angela Hewitt’s Bach is by now self-recommending but only after playing Bach across the world with numerous ensembles did Angela decide that the Australian Chamber Orchestra were the perfect collaborators. After a month of concerts across Australia these recordings were set down in Sydney in February of this year and the frisson of artists operating at the peak of their form is clear for all to hear. One is immediately struck by the quality of chamber-music playing as phrases are passed from soloist to orchestra and, in the case of Brandenburg Concerto No 5 and the Triple Concerto, between all three soloists. Rhythms are buoyant, tempos lively, the spirit of dance is never far away in the fast movements and a perfectly vocal quality pervades the sung lines of the slow movements.

These CDs will surely be the jewels in the crown of Angela Hewitt’s magnificent Bach series.

Recorded in Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Australia, on 4, 5 and 7-10 February 2005

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Tracklisting:

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Keyboard Concertos Nos. 1-7 BWV1052-1058
Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major, BWV1050
Concerto for Flute, Violin & Harpsichord in A minor, BWV1044

Angela Hewitt (piano)
Australian Chamber Orchestra, Richard Tognetti

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Reviews:

"A superb pair of discs" (Gramophone)

EDITOR'S CHOICE (Gramophone)
CD OF THE MONTH (Gramophone)
CLASSICAL CD OF THE WEEK (The Sunday Times)
ALBUM OF THE WEEK (Musicweek)
CLASSICAL CD OF THE WEEK (The Daily Telegraph)
DISC OF THE MONTH (Classic FM Magazine)

"...a beguiling example of what can be achieved in performances of Baroque music on the piano when they have been prepared with such thought and are blessed with such compelling artistry as Angela Hewitt's. Her Bach catalogue for Hyperion is already extensive, and here she joins the outstanding Australian Chamber Orchestra for the six concertos and two other works that spotlight the keyboard, the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto and the A minor Triple Concerto with flute (Alison Mitchell) and violin (Richard Tognetti, who also directs the orchestra). The performances call on different traditions: Hewitt plays a modern Fazioli grand, the orchestra deploys certain historically aware techniques, to the extent of having a discreet harpsichord in the continuo part. But such is Hewitt's sensitivity to style, and such is the orchestra's versatility, that there is no sense of compromise or jarring anachronism. Rather, the two coalesce in interpretations of remarkable synergy and fascinating textures. The familiar argument that Bach would have written for a piano if only he had had one is nowhere given more persuasive advocacy than in Hewitt's singing melodic lines, her judicious range of tonal colouring and in her touch, which combines the crispness and full flavour of a fresh apple. Take a bite of any of these concertos, and you will want to make a whole meal of them' (The Daily Telegraph)

'The result of their historically informed modern-instrument take on the music is stunning, with crisp rhythms and singing melodic lines' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Here the Fazioli is heard at its exquisite best, its spongey bass chords pumping with clarity, its treble caressing a heart-tuggingly beautiful legato out of the slow movement, while the dainty strings sketch an almost tongue-in-cheek pizzicato in the background. Hewitt's sense of phrase is masterful ... the statements have regal import under the authoritative hands of this queen of keyboard playing' (The Times)

'Her fingers dance as well as sing: in the outer movements, rhythms are buoyantly sprung, and this communicates itself to the members of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, whose slender string accompaniment in no way lessens their energy, while Hewitt responds by projecting the piano parts with all due attention to Bach's overall texture' (International Record Review)