Angela Hewitt at the Wigmore Hall a moment to cherish in difficult times

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
  • Piano Sonata in F K332
  • Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
  • The Well-tempered Clavier Book II, Prelude and Fugue No. 13 in F sharp BWV882
  • The Well-tempered Clavier Book II, Prelude and Fugue No. 14 in F sharp minor BWV883
  • The Well-tempered Clavier Book II, Prelude and Fugue No. 15 in G BWV884
  • The Well-tempered Clavier Book II, Prelude and Fugue No. 16 in G minor BWV885
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Piano Sonata in B flat K333
  • Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
  • Sonatine
  • Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894)
  • Bourrée fantasque

Angela Hewitt at the Wigmore Hall playing with character and style she delighted with Mozart,astonished with Chabrier and seduced with Ravel.But it was Bach that moved and uplifted us in these difficult times.Claire de lune played as an encore gave us hope for a better future.

The Piano Sonata No. 12 in F major K. 332 by Mozart was published in 1784 along with the Sonata n.10 and 11 K.330 and K.331.He wrote them either while visiting Munich in 1781, or during his first two years in Vienna.Some believe, however that Mozart wrote them during a summer 1783 visit to Salzburg made for the purpose of introducing his wife Costanze to his father, Leopold All three sonatas were published in Vienna in 1784 as Mozart’s Op. 6.In the 1923 novel Antic Hay by Aldous Huxley ,this sonata is the one Gumbril thinks of every time he imagines Emily’s body; from his description of the key sequence, he is thinking specifically of the first movement.In the 1994 film too ‘Immortal Beloved’Giulietta Guicciardini ( to whom the so called Moonlight Sonata is dedicated) is heard playing this beautiful second movement during a piano lesson with Beethoven!An Allegro that was pure opera with contrast of purity and beauty both dramatic and energetic .The simplicity of the opening theme was answered by the magic of the horns before the dramatic entrance of our next character.But the shy coquettish entrance of the character that followed was with a very subtle hesitation before she appeared fully with her delicate voice that was to be transformed in a discourse between the rumbustuous changing harmonies and the beseeching reply.The shy questioning at the end of the development prepared the way for the return of the utter simplicity of the opening.Too difficult for adults and too easy for children chimes Schnabel but not for Angela who has taken to the operatic stage with such identification with all the characters that Mozart puts before us.There was the entry of the bel canto coloratura in the gentle Adagio where Angela allowed her just enough freedom and subtle inflections to bring her voice to the fore with melting beauty.There was also the sense of orchestral colour where Mozart simply writes ‘sfp’ for the entry of the woodwinds.Magic in the air too as Angela insinuated the minor key that almost became too serious but was defused in time to return to the beginning before winding its way to the end.The sparkling ornaments and slight hesitation brought such poignancy to the final seemingly simple two bars.The virtuosity and high jinx of the Allegro assai was every bit as invigorating as the most ebullient of Mozart’s operatic characters .There was the shy dolce contrast with is rude interruptions before spinning on its way so mellifluously and carefree .There was drama too in the minor key with technical brilliance and recitativo freedom before the return to the bubbling energy of the beginning.But it was as if Mozart is telling us at the end that it was after all only a story as it dies away into the distance.A journey that Angela treated us to today and from her facial expressions she was enjoying every bit of the story she was telling too.

The Piano Sonata No. 13 in B flat K.333 was composed by Mozart in Linz at the end of 1783.On the basis of Mozart’s script it can be assigned to 1783/84, “likely not long before the appearance of the first print.” Furthermore it has been convincingly demonstrated through paper tests that the work was composed at the end of 1783, likely in November, around the same time as the “Linz Symphony” K.425 when the Mozart couple made a stopover in Linz on their way back to Vienna from Salzburg.There was subtle beauty and simplicity of the opening melody with the same sense of characterisation as in K.332.The question and answer of the development as drama appears on the horizon only to dissolve into the purity of the opening melodic line with searching harmonies as it found its way again.There was a flowing beauty to the almost too serious Andante cantabile where the subtle ornamentation in the repeat just added to the poignancy before the mystery and drama of the central section and Mozart’s own florid embroidering of the of the opening theme before the gentle final chord.Graceful but energetic charm of the Allegretto grazioso and a glorious outburst before the florid cadenza so reminiscent of his D minor fantasy as it gently finds its way back to the grazioso.An almost nostalgic coda rudely interrupted in true Beethovenian style slamming the door tightly shut.

Ravel wrote the first movement of the Sonatine between 1903/1905 for a competition sponsored by the Weekly Critical Review magazine after being encouraged by a close friend who was a contributor to that publication. The competition requirement was the composition of the first movement of a piano sonatina no longer than 75 bars,with the prize being 100 francs.In 1941 the publication Music & Letters printed the article When Ravel Composed to Order by Michel Dimitri Calvocoressi. Calvocoressi discussed how he supposedly encouraged Ravel to write the piece in response to a competition posted in the Paris Weekly Critical Review. Peter Jost of G. Henle Publishers found the original article in the Review published in three March 1903 editions. The original manuscript that Ravel submitted had the text ‘par Verla’ written and struck out, replaced with ‘par Maurice Ravel’. Ravel submitted the piece under a pseudonym and chose an anagram of his name.The Sonatine was first performed fully in Lyon on March 10, 1906 by Paule de Lestang.Shortly afterwards the piece received a Paris premiere, where it was played by Gabriel Grovlez.It was dedicated to Ida and Cipa Godebski; he later dedicated his Ma mère l’Oye suite to their children.The piece is in three movements:Modéré (moderate);Mouvement de menuet ;Animé (animated)There were such beautiful liquid sounds of subtle colouring and phrasing.Beautiful left hand colouring in the return of the main theme that gave such depth and sumptuous beauty to this early work of Ravel.There was a gentle lilt to the Minuet but with that typical aristocratic French sound that was later to be such a hallmark of Poulenc and Paris between the wars.Jewels that glittered too before the final disintegration of nostalgic phrases and the grandiloquent final long drawn out chord.A stream of golden sounds that Ravel himself could never dare play in public but in Angela’s hand were of a liquidity and luminosity before the final passionate outpouring.

Bourrée fantasque” by Emmanuel Chabrier (1841–1894),was one of his last major completed works and is dedicated to the pianist Edouard Risler (1873–1929), who in fact did not play the work in public until after the composer’s death. In a letter to Risler dated 12 May 1891, Chabrier wrote, “I have made you a little piano piece which I think is quite amusing and in which I have counted about 113 different sonorities. Let us see how you will make this one shine! It should be bright and crazy!” The precision of the notation in each bar, dynamics from ppp to tutta forza, accents, pedal indications, bear witness to his wish to obtain an exceptional tonal variety and richness.According to Alfred Cortot it is “one of the most exciting and original works in the whole literature of French piano music”. Excitement and exhilaration of great dexterity with Islamey like repeated notes.Sudden changes of mood and colour too only to end in a flourish of glory and astonishing brilliance.

The ravishing beauty of Debussy’s Claire de lune was Angela’s way of thanking her faithful Wigmore public who had once again filled every seat in this hallowed much loved hall.

Angela’s Bach is a monument that has been justly recognised the world over and needs no comment from me.From the sheer beauty of the F sharp major fugue that led so eloquently to the haunting beauty of its minor and its surprising tongue in cheek fugue.Only to be followed by the mellifluously flowing G major prelude and toccata like fugue.But it was the grandeur of the French overture in G minor that was overwhelming in its unrelenting authority.I think High Priestess could be the well deserved accolade for someone who has dedicated their life to the Genius of Cothen .

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