may not necessarily be written in the stars that Canadians are the ones
to set the bar for playing BACH on the piano (GLENN GOULD did in his
time), but anyone who has seen Canadian ANGELA HEWITT in performance
is certain to come away convinced that if there was one pianist born
to play BACH, she is IT!
Which was the way it was when the PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY OF ORANGE COUNTY
presented HEWITT in recital at the RENÉE and HENRY SEGERSTROM
HALL in Costa Mesa (CA) in the fall of 2007. It was one of many stops
on her 14-month BACH WORLD TOUR that goes well into 2008 and takes
her to some 25 countries on six continents. The tour
in which she plays BACH's formidable "WELL-TEMPERED CLAVIER"
in its entirety in two evening recitals is
her personal celebration of a wonderful but herculean 11-year project
began in 1994 to record all of Bach’s major keyboard works for
Hyperion Records. These recordings have been deservedly acclaimed
as "one of the record glories of our age."
As probably happens after each performance, MS. HEWITT left her Southern
California audience savoring a likely once-in-a-lifetime musical experience,
richer by a much enhanced appreciation of Bach's keyboard music gained
by simply letting themselves get carried away by her impeccable playing.
Indeed, one became oblivious of the fact that these pieces were in fact
masterful exercises in counterpoint that Bach composed to showcase the
tuning system he developed for every one of the 12 major and 12 minor
keys, pieces which in lesser hands and by virtue of their sheer number
could inflict varying degrees of hardship even on an informed audience.
Happily, ANGELA HEWITT in performance commands nothing less than joyful
attention - to the clarity, beauty of tone, precision, dexterity, lightness
of touch and a simplicity of style obviously underpinned by a high degree
of musical intelligence and a disciplined passion for her art that were
hallmarks of the evening. But what made an even more indelible imprint
was the distinct lyricism of the sounds produced by fingers deftly dancing
up and down the keyboard of her favored FAZIOLI that made every well-tempered
piece sing and dance to the soul's other-worldly delight - as only an
artist born to play BACH could.
certain stops of her world tour, MS. HEWITT also teaches masterclasses
on performing Bach on the piano. On this occasion, she held one such
class for select students, participants in the Southern California Junior
Bach Festival, who were each visibly thrilled to have been under the
one-on-one tutelage of today's foremost Bach interpreter, even for only
half an hour. It was prior to that masterclass, held between two performances,
that she graciously set aside some time for a videotaped interview with
In the clips that follow, we get a glimpse of ANGELA HEWITT, the person
and the artist. She takes us back to her childhood days in Canada
- learning Bach with her parents as her first teachers, then lets us
in on her musical insights and the exciting projects she pursued as
her career progressed, reaching in recent years the pinnacle reserved
only for the deserving best.
The projects include the launching of her very own Trasimeno
Music Festival in Italy (which in 2008 takes place from
June 28 to July 4) and a 2.5-hour instructional DVD entitled "Bach
Performance on the Piano" which Hyperion Records recently
released as a companion to her Bach World Tour. The spotlight of this
2-disc set (which includes a concert performance at the Fazioli auditorium),
of course, is on HEWITT - superb Bach specialist and master teacher
sharing her vast knowledge with students and enthusiasts alike.
It may very well become
THE video primer on Bach performance and a worthy addition to her crowning
If the joyful enthusiasm, creative energy, and relentless drive for
perfection so evident during her Bach World Tour are a guide, it will
not take a big leap of faith to believe that the best of ANGELA HEWITT
is yet to come!
-GJCajipe � FanFaire
Note: ANGELA HEWITT's honors and awards include: Gramophone Artist
of the Year (2006); Order of the British Empire (2006); the first BBC
Radio 3 Listener’s Award (Royal Philharmonic Society Awards) in
2003; Officer of the Order of Canada (2000).
ANGELA HEWITT has recently been named "2010 INSTRUMENTALIST
OF THE YEAR" by the MIDEM Classical Awards. The
award will be given in Cannes (France) on January 26, 2010.
Photo credits: www.angelahewitt.com;