J. S. BACH: Vols. 1 & 2 The Keyboard Concertos/ Angela Hewitt, piano/Australian Chamber Orch. — Hyperion **** MULTICHANNEL DISC OF THE MONTH ****

by | Aug 31, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

J. S. BACH: Vols. 1 & 2 The Keyboard Concertos — Angela
Hewitt, piano/Australian Chamber Orchestra — Hyperion (2-discs)
multichannel SACD – SACDA67307 & 8 ****:
This is an equally dazzling display of the Hyperion multichannel
recording technique and the musicianship of the marvelous pianist,
Angela Hewitt. The seven Bach Keyboard Concertos date from the
composer’s final years as director of the Collegium Musicum in Leipzig.
Several of them are reworkings of violin and oboe concertos. Concerto
movements also were used  by Bach in several cantatas. Despite
apparent redundancy, this music is as inventive, exuberant and
masterfully wrought as The Brandenburg Concertos composed ten years
earlier.

Born in Ottawa, Angela Hewitt in 1985 won the Toronto International
Bach Piano Competition in memory of Glenn Gould. She is a most worthy
bearer of the Gould legacy. Hewitt provides a full measure of Bach’s
unique outpouring of joy and solemnity. Achieving an ideal balance of
emotion and scholarship, the overall effect of her playing is stunning.
Her tone is crystalline, partnering ideally with the delicacy of her
ornamentation.

The ACO, led from the violin by Richard Tognetti, includes 17 string
players and one harpsichordist. They are joined by two  flautists
on loan from the Scottish Chamber and Sidney Symphony Orchestras. This
responsive, finely tuned group makes music as one with Angela Hewitt.
Recorded in Verbugghen Hall at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in
February 2005, the act of listening to these Bach keyboard works
approaches rapture. Counterpoint has rarely been so clearly
articulated, instrumental focus and balance seldom so naturally
rendered. The multichannel format literally surrounds the listener with
Bach’s music.

Hyperion engineers have done Angela Hewitt, the ACO and, above all, J.
S. Bach fine service. Essential music, exceptionally performed and
recorded. A must!

— Ronald Legum

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