One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
The Six Partitas
Partita No.1 in B flat major, BWV 825 [18:21]
Partita No.2 in C minor, BWV 826 [20:52]
Partita No.3 in A minor, BWV 827 [19:41]
Partita No.4 in D major, BWV 828 [33:38]
Partita No.5 in G major, BWV 829 [23:05]
Partita No.6 in E minor, BWV 830 [34:18]
Angela Hewitt (piano)
rec. 2018, Das Kulturzentrum Grand Hotel, Dobbiaco, Italy
HYPERION CDA68271/2 [2 CDs: 149:56]

It was over twenty years ago, back in 1996-7, that the Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt set down her first interpretations of J.S. Bach's magnificent keyboard Partitas. She explains in the accompanying notes that she felt the time was right to re-evaluate her interpretations, this time using her own Fazioli piano, in the beautiful Kulturzentrum Gustav Mahler in Toblach/Dobbiaco, Italy. She has made similar undertakings with the Goldberg Variations and the two books of the Well-tempered Clavier.

My first introduction to the pianist was actually via her earlier 1990's Partita cycle, and such was the positive impression it made that I've sought out many of her recordings over subsequent years. I thought it would be interesting, initially, to do a head-to-head comparison of the instruments used in both recordings. Hewitt chose a Steinway for her first, housed in the Beethovensaal, Hannover. Its warm, rich tone is endearing, with the Hannover acoustic resonant, yet intimate. The Fazioli is a much brighter instrument, and gives forth a much crisper sound. The Dobbiaco venue is less reverberant. At the end of the day, it will depend on your preference. Whilst I find both most agreeable, for me the Fazioli has the edge. The greater clarity in the more recent traversal marginally facilitates more detail and delineation, a quality I find more beneficial in the music of Bach.

These days, in my experience, it's more common to encounter performances of Bach's keyboard works on the modern concert grand. My familiarity with the Partitas has been almost completely with piano versions by such performers as Gould, Hewitt (first cycle), Schiff, Perahia, Goode and Tureck, though I do possess the Kirkpatrick and Pinnock harpsichord versions. I much prefer the modern piano, as the instrument provides a wider colouristic range and greater expressive scope.

How well the Fazioli responds to Hewitt’s unique artistry. I'm totally won over by her expressive playing, subtle shadings and nuance. Her immaculate finger work ensures that everything is cleanly delivered, with contrapuntal strands teased out with utmost definition. Ornamentation is tasteful and doesn’t disrupt the flow of the music. She observes repeats and uses the full dynamic range of the piano. There's so much fresh air and sunlight. Tempi are just how I like them. Sarabandes are gorgeously contoured and dance movements sparkle with glitter and bounce.

So, to sum up, the cycle is beautifully recorded in a warmly welcoming ambience with an agreeable sense of space and perspective. This is a recording which showcases the exquisite artistry of this pianist. Hewitt's intelligent approach, impeccable musicianship and authoritative technique serve the music well. Her own scholarly liner contribution is an added bonus.

Perhaps I should leave the last word to Angela Hewitt herself, who says of these works, "Bach says so much in these pieces, and the cumulative effect is really something that will leave you in awe."

Stephen Greenbank

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month



From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience