Beethoven on Hyperion

2006-10-22 / The Sunday Times / Hugh Canning

Piano Sonatas Op 10/3, 7, 57 “Appassionata” Angela Hewitt (piano) Hyperion SACD/CDA67518

The Canadian pianist brings the same lucidity and good sense to Beethoven as she does to her acclaimed performances of Bach. Hyperion is not presenting this release as volume one of a sonata cycle — the catalogue is already bursting to saturation point — but the results are so satisfying that one hopes that it may, at least, be the first of a series. Hewitt is especially affecting in the slow movements: the Largo e mesto (broad and sad) of Op 10 No 3 is unusually sombre and closes with a questioning melancholy that infects both the succeeding Menuetto and the Rondo finale. There are certainly more “titanic” accounts of the Appassionata on disc, but Hewitt is as aware as any contemporary pianist of the dramatic contrasts and epic momentum of this astounding masterpiece.