Chopin Nocturnes and Impromptus

2004-12-30 / Toronto Star / William Littler

Angela Hewitt’s 10-year project to record all the major keyboard works of J.S. Bach has consolidated her reputation as a Bach specialist, established by winning the International Bach Competition in Toronto in 1985. But as her forthcoming concerto appearances at Roy Thomson Hall on Jan. 15 and 16 with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s mini Mozart festival suggest, the Ottawa-born pianist cultivates other musical interests as well. Her latest album for Hyperion reinforces the point. As one might expect, given her grounding in the music of Bach and Mozart, she brings a less romantic approach to Chopin’s Nocturnes than some of her recorded colleagues (Arthur Rubinstein, Maria Joao Pires and Daniel Barenboim, among them), playing with great poise and a classicist’s sense of balance. But this is nothing inexpressive about these performances and by spreading them over two CDs, she manages as well to include properly poetic accounts of three Impromptus and the great Fantaisie-Impromptu In C Sharp Minor. Her own informative notes are a valuable bonus to the album.