Beethoven Piano Sonatas, Volume 3

2010-07-26 / The Herald / Michael Tumelty

Angela Hewitt: Beethoven Piano Sonatas Vol 3 (Hyperion)

A luminous Moonlight Sonata casts a spell.

I’m playing catch-up (fast) with Angela Hewitt’s cycle of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas on Hyperion. Having started on this quest late, I powered through two volumes then spent a week soaking up the new volume three, and through intensive listening I’m struck by a particular perspective. Hewitt’s pristine articulation and clarity of thought, line and feeling are, as ever, inimitable. But I have not been as aware of the sound of her beloved Fazioli piano as I am in this series. In volume three its flexibility and responsiveness are integral features of the pianist’s interpretation. It serves her well throughout the Variations of the opus 26 Sonata, from the dry bass-bounce to the soft lyricism; the Moonlight opening movement is swathed in luminosity, while within the tempestuous moments of the finale the instrument rings with drama. And as well as I know Hewitt’s playing, from Bach to Schumann, I am still surprised at just how expressively, and romantically, the great Canadian plays this music.