2004-11-01 / La Scena Musicale / W.S. Habington
This is the fourteenth and concluding disc in Angela Hewitt’s survey of the solo keyboard works of J.S. Bach. Although this CD is nothing short of a miscellany, there is no hint of a ‘last things’ approach to the music. In fact, the sequence of the disc’s 32 tracks work very well as a recital. The recording begins and ends with pieces entitled, Fantasia and Fugue in A minor which originated in the composer’s Weimar period (1714-1717). The most substantial work in between is the Aria Variata ‘alla Maniera Italiana’ with its ten variations. As always, every miniature piece receives its full due. Hewitt has already exhausted the supply of critical superlatives in her devotion to Bach. Those who have loyally followed the Hyperion cycle will find that this terminal issue meets and exceeds the stringent standards which she set for herself. Hewitt presents a Bach of sensitivity and integrity for our time and always. Enjoyment of the disc is enhanced by the performer’s lively and informative booklet note. Conventional CD sound quality is in the demonstration class. SACD playback (stereo is preferable to multi-channel) is as close as most of us will ever get to having Miss Hewitt and her concert Steinway perform in our listening rooms.