Angela Hewitt was simply divine Thursday night. It was the most inspirational recital/concert I’ve attended for quite a long time. In the last 10 years, since I have chosen to focus more exclusively on teaching, I’ve re-discovered my first love of solo piano music. I’ve sight-read reams of music, listened to more, bought more than my budget really allowed, and have happily sought to pass it on to others.
Hearing Angela Hewitt in a solo recital of Bach and Ravel was such a treat. She played a French Suite (no. 1), the Toccata in D major, and an English Suite (no. 3). At intermission I mentioned to someone that I wouldn’t have minded an entire second half of Bach as well. One of the foremost experts on playing Bach these days, all those contrapuntal lines are so well presented through voicing and articulation that nothing ever gets lost. She effectively used rubato to mark the large structural divisions. Her love of the music showed clearly – her face expressed all the harmonic changes and surprises.
The Ravel Sonatine and Le Tombeau de Couperin comprised the second half – and I was blown away. I’ve heard, though never played the Sonatine, and in the last couple of weeks I bashed my through some of Le Tombeau, and the rest I listened to with a score in front of me (gotta love the Petrucci Library!). So I had an idea of what was involved in the music – the better to enjoy the evening. It was stunning. Her virtuosity shone through the difficult music.
Angela Hewitt has made a DVD set called Bach Performance on the Piano. I have it but haven’t watched it for awhile. Next week’s project – it’s Performance Class week so I’ll have fewer hours in front of students so I should have a bit more time – is to watch the DVDs again, listen to the French Suites and Little Preludes CD that I bought, and plan to assign some of the Preludes to students in the coming weeks.
For more details on the recital, here’s the review by Kenneth Delong that appeared in the Calgary Herald.