Although the Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt has forged a reputation as one of J.S. Bach's foremost interpreters, her other attractions are undoubtedly the contemporary and the French baroque. So it is no wonder that she has decided to tackle Rameau, a venture which few pianists before have undertaken. The reasons for this are not hard to comprehend, as Rameau's keyboard works are saturated with so many ornaments and interpretational lollipops, that they run the risk of losing their dramatic content.
But having already conquered Couperin, it was only logical for Hewitt to turn to Rameau and his finely balanced yet daunting compositions. She is undoubtedly a master pianist, gifted with a natural refined finger technique and musical sensibility that can bring to the baroque style, the clarity of texture and line it needs to make it sound opulently embellished.
In these renditions, she admirably harnesses all the ornamentations, and none are shirked. Her contrapuntal understanding is never amiss, and where warranted, she plays with a tenderness that is almost beyond fragility.
Rmeau's personality was prone to a fiery quality which he often poured into his pieces and I would have preferred Hewitt to have been more adventurous in this respect. But that said, her legion of fans can put their mind at rest, as this is another tour-de-force from this keyboard wizard.
Another jewel of this issue are the annotations by Hewitt herself, a must read treasure-trove of historic and technical facts. Yet another memorable addition to the Hewitt discography in fine sound and glorious presentation.
Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech