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Angela Hewitt Plays Handel & Haydn

Release Date: 09/08/2009 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67736   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George Frideric HandelFranz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Angela Hewitt
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

October 2009 BBC Music Magazine Instrumental Choice - "Angela Hewitt mixes heartfelt response with scholarship"

"Hewitt distils the essence of the original instruments without compromsing her out-and-out commitment to the modern keyboard … The large-scale Haydn E flat Sonata is superb, above all the middle movement in an astonishing and other-wordly E major. Hewitt's dynamic range is bold … and the glittering facility of the final Presto is thrilling. Altogether a splendid contribution to these composers' anniversary year." -- BBC Music Magazine


Read more class="COMPOSER12">HANDEL Chaconne in G, HWV 435 . Harpsichord Suites: in F, HWV 427 ; in f, HWV 433. HAYDN Keyboard Sonatas: in F, Hob XVII:6 ; in E?, Hob XVI:52 Angela Hewitt (pn) HYPERION 67736 (67:25)

What intrigues me most about Angela Hewitt’s playing is the tension between the expressive restrictions determined by her 18th-century repertoire, and the imagination she deploys so fully within its boundaries. This new release of hers offers several examples of this aspect of her art.

For example, she could have taken the gigue of the Suite in F Minor much faster, as in her excellent performance of Rameau’s Le rappel des oiseaux (Hyperion 67597). Instead, she offers up a solid allegro (150 bps) that allows her to deploy a range of dynamics and clearly delineate the contrapuntal texture in the work. The latter virtue can be heard in the fugue that concludes the Suite in F Major, where Hewitt takes pains to make each strand of the music apparent to the listener. It would actually be simpler to play it faster, as that would focus the listener’s attention on exuberance and technique, two qualities that are easier to find in technically proficient pianists than an eye for clarity and an ability to create it. What we come away with is less a sense of what a virtuoso Hewitt truly is, than what fine musicians both composer and pianist are.

Haydn’s Sonata in F Minor (nicknamed “Un piccolo divertimento”) displays another facet of her playing: the use of carefully managed accents and weighted dynamics in both hands. Despite this—or perhaps because of it—when the variations turn darker and Hewitt reaches a crescendo, the effect is all the more powerful for having been held for so long in reserve with only a touch of power. As a side benefit, there is no loss to intimacy in this most informal of Haydn’s late sonatas when she drops back to a less intense but varied range of colors, while maintaining the pace and rhythmic continuity Haydn uses to bind his work.

Her version of the Keyboard Sonata in E? took some getting used to, with a more inflected approach to the first movement than several I’ve heard over the years. Upon repeated hearings, though, I feel it works well, though at times the simple impression of athletic esprit found in some other recorded versions of this piece felt more natural. On the other hand, the Adagio (taken at a true adagio tempo, too, without seeming in the least bit sluggish) is a beautiful and rhythmically flexible thing under Hewitt’s hands, alternately delicate and majestic, while the Presto finale is a fine instance of technical virtuosity put to the service of Haydn’s brilliant wit.

In short, highly recommended.

FANFARE: Barry Brenesal

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Works on This Recording

Chaconne and Variations (21) for Harpsichord in G major, HWV 435: Chaconne by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Angela Hewitt (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; London, England 
Suite for Harpsichord in F major, HWV 427 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Angela Hewitt (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
Suite for Harpsichord in F minor, HWV 433 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Angela Hewitt (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
Sonata for Keyboard in F minor, H 17 no 6 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Angela Hewitt (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1793; Vienna, Austria 
Sonata for Keyboard no 62 in E flat major, H 16 no 52 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Angela Hewitt (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1794; London, England 

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