Concert in Tel Aviv with Israel Camerata

2005-06-07 / Haaretz, Israel / Hagai Hitron

Encounter with Hewitt

Israel Camerata Orchestra-Jerusalem, Avner Biron, c, Angela Hewitt, p. Soloist, Anat Sharon, Introductory Lecture: Weil Auditorium, Kfar Shmaryahu

This is the first visit of pianist Angela Hewitt in Israel, and the Camerata Orchestra deserves a special thanks for this (how has it happened that this artist has not yet appeared with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra??). Hearing Hewitt playing Bach (and in this performance also conducting) — this time the Concerto in f minor — is being present at a performance which is entirely authoritative, good taste, enjoyment of the highest quality. The sense of authority is also projected by Hewitt externally, her body language projecting confidence and the pleasure of making music. Concerning the performance: in her effective explanatory remarks before the concert, musicologist Anat Sharon notes that Hewitt, in playing Bach on the piano and rather than on the harpsichord, belongs to the school differing from that of the authentic” school, that is from the school advocating performance of Baroque music in accordance with the tastes of the composers’ own times.

In formal terms this classification is correct; but, on hearing this concerto at the hands of the Canadian-European artist, it is clear that her way takes into account also the considerations of the “authentic” school and the legacy of her countryman, Glenn Gould. In terms of ranking, Hewitt belongs to the small select group of pianists, numbering at most perhaps half a dozen, whose performances of Bach are unrivaled.

In the second part of the evening, we moved to a different realm (which is not identified as a “specialty” of Hewitt), with the Schumann Concerto. The interplay between the soloist and the Camerata players conducted by Biron was far from perfect. Piano phrases sounding original and full of energy were not accompanied by sufficiently responsive orchestral playing, and there was an impression that the sense of what the “correct” rhythm should be was not common and conjoint to the visiting artist and the conductor. Nonetheless, the performance was fascinating at every juncture.

Fortunately the visitor did not require stubborn cheers and applause to add an encore, a piano solo version of the famous lied “Widmung” (Dedication) by Schumann. This was wonderful. The concert opened, it must be mentioned, by an excellent performance of the Mendelssohn’s youthful Symphony in d minor (remarkable). It must also be mentioned that this concert will be repeated this evening and of Friday in Tel Aviv, tomorrow in Haifa, and on Saturday evening in Jerusalem. On Monday Hewitt will offer a Recital in the Tel Aviv Museum (Bach and Lizst), and it need hardly be said that this will be one of the most interesting piano events of recent years.

(translated by Judah Matras)”