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Bach: The English Suites Import


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Audio CD, Import, October 14, 2003
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Angela Hewitt is a phenomenal artist who has established herself at the highest level over the last few years not least through her superb, award-winning recordings for Hyperion. Completed in 2005, her eleven-year project to record all the major keyboard works of Bach has been described as “one of the record glories of our age” (The Sunday Times) and has won her a huge following. ... Read more in Amazon's Angela Hewitt Store

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Bach: The English Suites + Bach: French Suites / Angela Hewitt
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Product Details

  • Performer: Angela Hewitt
  • Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (October 14, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion UK
  • ASIN: B0000BX5L4
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,546 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Prelude
2. Allemande
3. Courante I
4. Courante II
5. Sarabande
6. Bourree I And II
7. Gigue
8. Prelude
9. Allemande
10. Courante
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Prelude
2. Allemande
3. Courante
4. Sarabande
5. Menuet I And II
6. Gigue
7. Prelude
8. Allemande
9. Courante
10. Sarabande
See all 18 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Alan Lekan on September 20, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
According to lore, the "English" in these suites refers to some historical evidence that they were written for "an Englishman of nobility." Perhaps. While there is not so much style of the English in this music, the international flavors of Italy, Germany, Spain and especially France abound in these series of six suites consisting of several contrasting 'dance' movements. The Courantes, Bourrees, Menuets and Gavottes are quintessentially French, the Sarabandes of Spanish origin, the Allemandes from Germany and the French Gigue from Anglo roots in the 'Jig.' While their origins came from dance music of the courts and peasants of the 16th & 17th centuries, the dances of Bach's Suites were composed purely for instrumental, concert purposes.

In her exquisite liner notes, Miss Hewitt summarizes Bach's huge talent for integrating and fusing these diverse, regional dance influences into one grand style: "Bach was able to combine the grace and refinement of French dance music with concerto elements borrowed from the Italians, yet subjecting it all to the German predilection for polyphonic writing at which he was the supreme master. Nowhere is this more beautifully demonstrated that in his six English Suites."

Bach's English Suites are filled with much superbly crafted, complex and memorable music - from the haughtingly beautiful sarabandes to the highly rhythmic preludes and gigues. Unlike the six Partitas or French Suites, each of the English Suites begins with a prelude - but preludes that are quite technical and fast moving and hardly relaxed like those of Bach's WTC.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Robert H. Goldman on February 22, 2004
Format: Audio CD
until I heard this new recording, my all time favorite recordings of the English Suites were the harpsichord version on Westminster by Fernando Valenti. Pretty old but this new recording on the modern grand is all the energy, articulation, clarity and brilliance of that set. It is unusual to compare the harpsichord version with a version recorded probably 35 to 40 years later on the concert grand. But what comes out to me from this recent recording is the joy of playing the music by Angela Hewitt and her obvious devotion to the music. It has none of the ponderous playing of so many versions that I have listened to and purchased. These recordings to my mind beat all the competition and it is the best yet in her complete Bach series.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M. Levitt - classical music buff on January 9, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The English Suites are the first of three sets of suites Bach wrote for the keyboard, the others being the French Suites and Partitas.

Of the three sets of suites, the Partitas are perhaps the greatest set, the French the most accessible.

I tend to prefer Bach on piano (to harpsichord). I think the richness of Bach's music comes over better on piano, assuming of course that the pianist is very good in Bach.

Angela Hewitt's set of the English Suites is elegant, songful and pianistic;the more I listen to Hewitt, the more I enjoy her. I think Murray Perahia's set of the English Suites is more personal than Hewitt, very compelling, but not better. Rosalyn Tureck (on VAI) offers an unforgettable, marvelous performance of the English Suite no.3 coupled with superb excerpts of the Well Tempered Clavier, the Italian Concerto etc.

Of Hewitt's Bach recordings I know, the very best are of the Well Tempered Clavier (Books 1 and 2) (try hearing Rosalyn Tureck in them too!).

I think we are fortunate today to have wonderful Bach recordings by Tureck, Hewitt, and Perahia (also Piotr Anderszewski in Bach Partitas 1,3 and 6 on Virgin).
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Format: Audio CD
Hyperion produces its usual excellent sound for Angela Hewitt in this fine account of the English Suites. She, along with Perahia and Andras Schiff, has been producing beautiful accounts of Bach's keyboard music since the new century began (and Schiff even before that), and this 2-disc set is no exception. The music here falls easily on the ear -- these are dance movements with a Prelude for each of the six suites, and they require considerable virtuosity. They repay close listening, for all their energy and charm, and close listening here reveals Hewitt's marvelous sense of texture in the voicing of the subordinate melodies and the canonical and fugal developments, her great sense of rhythmic underpinning, and her unexaggerated but effective variety of touch and dynamics. The other day, I put this on my player to accompany my crossword-solving, and it wasn't long before the music won out over the crossword. It might seem that you wouldn't want to sit through all six at a sitting, but they proved so engaging that that was not a problem for me. Rarely has rigor been allied with the composition of music so agreeable, but that's the case here -- and, with Bach, not only here, of course. Recommended.
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