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Arrangements Import

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Audio CD, Import, September 11, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Since Bach constantly reworked his own music, it's always been seen as fair game that others should do so, too. Angela Hewitt's disc of Bach arrangements thus stands in a noble tradition, as well as carrying it boldly into the future. But if three of these 17 short pieces are Hewitt's own inventions, others are welcome discoveries from the nearly forgotten past. None of Busoni's majestic arrangements is here, but instead, we find fascinating pieces by a plethora of English composers, including Lord Berbers, Herbert Howells, and William Walton. Hewitt's own liner notes are a mine of information--some of it comic, much of it illuminating--as well as a guide to her keyboard philosophy. And her playing is as superb as we now expect. In D'Albert's version of Bach's stupendous Passacaglia in C Minor, she somehow manages to make the piano sound like a large organ echoing through a church. In other modes, she can be plangent, frisky, hesitant, or imbued with the most gorgeous cantabile; she seems to have a hotline to the religious fervor Bach wanted to evince. This disc may be built out of a collection of favorite encores, but in sum it's a feast. --Michael Church

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Cantata No. 29, 'Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir,' BWV 29 (BC B8): Sinfonia in D major
  2. Sonata for flute & keyboard in E flat major, BWV 1031: Siciliano in G minor
  3. Cantata No. 208, 'Was mir behagt,' (Hunt Cantata), BWV 208 (BC G1, G3): Sheep may safely graze
  4. Cantata No. 147, 'Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben,' BWV 147 (BC A174): Jesu, joy of man's desiring
  5. In dulci jubilo (II), chorale prelude for organ, BWV 729 (BC K115)
  6. Herzlich tut mich verlangen, chorale prelude for organ, BWV 727 (BC K109)
  7. Passacaglia and Fugue, for organ in C minor, BWV 582 (BC J79)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 11, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion UK
  • ASIN: B00005N8CU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #164,746 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By cnomad on February 4, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Do please welcome to your classical music collection these stirringly beautiful renditions of Bach piano transcriptions! All the pieces included in this marvelous CD are remarkable in the way they capture the spirit of the instruments for which they were intended. Canadian pianist and Bach specialist Angela Hewitt plays them with the requisite majesty, poetry, grace, lightness or gravity.
She opens with the grand "Sinfonia in D major" (an organ work), a fireworks-filled piece, softening with the gentle and poignant "Siciliano in G minor" (written for the flute), then turns grave with the sarabande-like "Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland." The joy in "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme" is revealed by Ms. Hewitt's sprightly playing, while the drama in the "Passacaglia in C minor" (the longest piece of the set) unfolds with an understated grandeur. The famous "Jesu, joy of man's desiring," with its elegant tempo and looped melody, has not been left out, and neither has Ms. Hewitt's favorite encore, the lovely "Sheep may safely graze."
Although well-known names make up the list of transcribers (Wilhelm Kempff, Myra Hess, Mary Howe, William Walton, Harold Bauer, just to mention a few), Ms. Hewitt herself contributes three of her own transcriptions from the "Orgelbuchlein" to the lot. Her sterling touch is exquisite, her playing translucent, sparkling and meticulously articulate without being petty, grand without being showy. The Steinway piano she plays upon deserves praise as well, with all its 88 deep, rounded tones a joy to listen to.

The seventeen pages of excellent notes (by Ms. Hewitt) offer a wealth of information that educates and amuses. Few album notes are as well-written as these, and with the help of a basic music dictionary, the average listener can only profit greatly from them.
Highly recommended with no reservations whatsoever.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 16, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Bach transcriptions seem to be making a bit of a comeback, but a couple of generations ago they were common fare, both in piano recitals and orchestral programs. Bach-Busoni was the most common 'hyphenized Bach' but lots of other people tried their hand at transcribing his music, up to and including the Swingle Singers. Here we have one of our finest Bach players, the elegant Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt, in a program of transcriptions and arrangements by a veritable who's-who of former greats--Wilhelm Kempff, William Walton, Harold Bauer, Eugen d'Albert, Myra Hess, John Ireland, Harriet Cohen. Those names conjure up an era preserved for us, thank God, by recordings. Ms Hewitt even contributes three of her own transcriptions from the Orgelbüchlein.
The playing is, of course, elegant, musical, even thrilling in places. Some old favorites are here--Dame Myra's 'Jesu, joy of man's desiring,' d'Albert's monumental 'Passacaglia in c minor, BWV 582.' But there are some transcriptions I'd never heard before--Lord Berners's 'In dulci jubilo,' Bauer's scrumptious 'Die Seele ruht in Jesu Händen.' Altogether a worthy program in the lifelike sound Hyperion always seems to provide for its stable of wonderful pianists. Indeed, I can't think of a single criticism I'd want to make.
Scott Morrison
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 6, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The transcriptions on this album are romantic in origin, and played very much in that style. While not for the Baroque Style purist, the performances on this disc are really outstanding examples of both Ms. Hewitts musicianship, and the art of transcription. If you believe that transcription can bring new insight into the genius of a piece of music, your belief will be validated here. The transcription of "Die Seele ruht in Jesu Handen" from Cantata 127, which contains some truly stunning harmonies (all from the original Bach,) is of particularly moving beauty. While the engineering of the recording tends to point up the percussive nature of the piano, this doesn't really detract from the overall excellence of this recording.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jill Malter on March 22, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Angela Hewitt is superb playing these transcriptions of a variety of Bach's works.

The disc starts with five excellent choices of transcriptions by Wilhelm Kempf. The first is simply splendid, namely the Sinfonia in D major. Perhaps this is the most convincing of all the works in terms of the piano being the right instrument for the music. "Wachet auf" is also peformed very well.

Next are two lovely pieces, the Mary Howe transcription of "Sheep may safely graze," and the Myra Hess transcription of "Jesu, joy of man's desiring." These are my favorites on the entire disc.

Another beautiful piece that Hewitt plays very gracefully is Harriet Cohen's transcripition of "Sanctify us by Thy goodness."

Hewitt is spectacular in the toughest piece, the Eugen d'Albert transcription of the famous Passacaglia in C minor. This piece sounds really good on the piano, but I have to admit that I miss the pedal notes.

I highly recommend this beautiful set of Bach arrangements.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alan Lekan on July 27, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Amassing now over a dozen CD's in her Bach cycle, Angela Hewitt puts her focus on several famous - and some not-so-famous - piano transcriptions of Bach. The overall flavor and tone of this set is a little different than her other Bach recordings. Not present in this music are the lively dance rhythms of the French courante, menuet or bourree found in the Suites or Partitas - or even much of the intellectual fugues from the "Well-Tempered Clavier" and others. Rather, there is a more introspective, gentle and often tangibly spiritual essence to the selections on this CD - largely due to many being transciptions from choral and church cantatas. In many of the more familiar pieces, there is a comforting and assuring atmosphere that Miss Hewitt communicate most sensitively - which when reading the German translation of the original works in the liner notes, would seem to be the intent of the Lutheran Kappelmeister Bach.

In her most-informative notes, Hewitt points out how "the ability to translate spirituality into sound at the keyboard is of certainly important to avoid famous tunes sounding banal or hacknayed." Her versions of the famous "Jesu" and "Sheep may safely graze" (as well as her own three lovely transcriptions) do seem to succeed in conveying a spiritual core to avoid sounding trite. In the great Bach pastoral work ("Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"), Hewitt convincingly summons the nurturing personna of Dame Myra Hess who played her piano transcription of this choral work almost daily over BBC radio to comfort many in hardship during the great war. Maybe in a couple pieces, as some suggest, Ms. Hewitt draws out her tempos a bit, but I found this gave the piece a more introspective tone that I appreciated later upon further listening.
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