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CD Review

Johann Sebastian Bach

Hyperion 67451/2

The English Suites

  • English Suite #1 in A Major, BWV 806
  • English Suite #2 in A minor, BWV 807
  • English Suite #3 in G minor, BWV 808
  • English Suite #4 in F Major, BWV 809
  • English Suite #5 in E minor, BWV 810
  • English Suite #6 in D minor, BWV 811
Angela Hewitt, piano
Hyperion CDA67451/2 145m DDD
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Also released on Hybrid SACD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic ]

Angela Hewitt's Bach keyboard cycle comes to an end with another magisterial recording, this time of the English Suites. These works have been recorded before by many giants of the keyboard, most notably Pinnock, Kempff and other seasoned Bachians from the past.

However, I would stick my neck out to say that this version is the closest one can get to wondrous perfection. Hewitt's mercurial touch in the A Major suite sets the stage for things to come and one can enjoy the energy and character that she brings to proceedings.

The undoubted masterpiece in this collection is the D minor Suite which lasts for over half an hour. This finds Hewitt again in grand form, pacing the six movements with some alacrity and distinction that culminates in the Sarabande, another extra long movement.

Although it is a daunting process to face over two and a half hours of solo piano music, it is quite amazing to note that your attention does not seem to slack with Hewitt at the helm. The pianist's notes are detailed, chirpy and make for informed reading. Completists will obviously want to snap up this set but this is also a useful bet for those who enjoy great piano playing.

Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech

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