Bach Concertos on Hyperion

2005-05-27 / Evening Standard / Stephen Pettitt

Angela Hewitt Completes Her Bach Cycle with the Keyboard Concertos

Angela Hewitt (piano)
Australian Chamber Orchestra

Angela Hewitt’s survey of Bach played on the piano reaches a climactic end with these two discs, containing the seven solo keyboard concertos, plus the Triple Concerto BWV 1044 and the Fifth Brandenburg Concerto, both with prominent solo parts for keyboard, flute and violin.

Her performances are a delight: charismatic, effervescent, uplifting in the fast movements, poignant, delicate and touching in the slow ones. And there’s still something refreshingly rebellious about the sound of the piano in this music when the Baroque field is dominated by the period-instruments brigade.

Hewitt uses — and directs from the keyboard — the Australian Chamber Orchestra, who unapologetically play modern instruments. Their phrasing and articulation certainly demonstrate lessons learned from their period-instrument-playing colleagues — and they do use a harpsichord for their continuo instrument — but their musicmaking is beautifully polished and refined, though also charged with spontaneity.