6 years ago

Volume 13 - Issue 2 - October 2007

cover story"Playing like

cover story"Playing like the person you are"The irrepressible Angela HewittInterviewed by Pamela MarglesTo reach Angela Hewitt's house in the heart of Italy, I drive through mountains dotted withancient churches and castles. The road I'm following continues down to Lake Trasimeno.But I turn off onto a sideroad which leads up to Hewitt's house - straight up. The house isbuilt into the side of a mountain looking down on the magnificent lake. When I arrive, Hewittis in her garden with the manager of her music festival, Guglielmo Beneduce. She greets mewith a sunlit smile. 'Not a bad view, is it?' she says.Although she has been home just briefly,Hewitt is heading off to Oslo the next day tolaunch her most ambitious tour yet. Duringthe next fourteen months, she is giving ahundred and ten performances of Bach'sWell-Tempered Clavier in twenty-fivecountries around the world. She will beperforming in Toronto in late October.Hewitt was born in Ottawa, where she grewup. A child prodigy, she started winningcompetitions when she was five. Innumerablehonours followed, topped off last Marchat Buckingham Palace, when Queen Elizabethpresented her with the Order of theBritish Empire. She keeps an apartment inOttawa, where her mother lives. But she haslived in Europe since her student days inParis.On her upcoming tour, Hewitt will beplaying the Well-Tempered Clavier almostexclusively. She will do just a few otherconcerts. These include a recital with herfrequent chamber partner, German cellistDaniel Muller-Schott, in Port Hope inOctober. 'I've accepted hardly anythingelse,' she told me. 'It's wonderful for me tohave the experience of taking the Well­Tempered Clavier around the world to somany people, and of living with it for thatlength of time. I'm so used to playingtwelve or more recital programs in a seasonthat just to have the one will be almost like aholiday.' She laughs heartily. 'Although itwill be no holiday', she adds. 'But I amlooking forward to it.'Hewitt's repertoire is broad, ranging fromcontemporary to baroque. Her style, distinctivefor its clarity and directness, gained herspeedy acceptance among today's toppianists. She plays Couperin and Rameau ona concert grand piano in an age when evenplaying Bach on a modern piano raiseseyebrows. But Hewitt is not just confident,she is fearless.'When I first moved to London in 1985, itwas the heyday of the early music movement.People like Roger Norrington, TrevorPinnock and John Eliot Gardiner werebringing forward things like proper phrasingand articulation, and emphasizing the danceelements in the music. But these were allthings that any good musician should know.Yet a lot of musicians still don't get that kindof training.'10'It was their joy and their sense of discovery,their ability to make the music soundnew - that was quite a revelation to me. But itactually suited the way of playing that I haddeveloped already. So I took from themeverything that I thought was best suited tomy style, and then I left the rest. For me it'snot the instrument you play, it's the way youplay it. ''A lot of musicians learn piano startingwith Chopin, and then sometimes get backto Bach and Mozart. For me, that's totallythe wrong direction to go. You should startwith Bach, then you go forward to Mozart,then Chopin and whatever. So if I cancontribute to making pianists aware of theimportant stylistic things, then that's great.''That's why I've finally made a DVD. Ilecture a lot, and I find that piano teachersare desperate for someone to show themwhat to do with Bach. Bach didn't writeanything in the score - he wrote the notes,and that's it.'The new DVD, to be released this fall,was filmed in the Fazioli factory in northernItaly. Fazioli manufactures Hewitt's ownpianos, and she performs on a Fazioliwhenever possible. 'Paolo Fazioli is sponsoringthis world tour. He is getting mepianos from his dealers around the worldwherever possible. There will be places likeOslo, where it is not possible, because hedoesn't have a dealer there yet. But in ninetypercent of the concerts, I will be playing aFazioli, which is great.'The DVD ends with a one-hour recital.'But first, ' she says, ' I talk about my ideason tempo, voicing, fingering, memorizing,articulation. I even - dare I say it in Bach -discuss rubato. I hope that it will get peopleto realize how important these things are, likeproducing the legato with the fingers, notwith the pedal, and avoiding huge dynamicchanges - although dynamics are certainlyvery important, especially to follow the riseand fall of the human voice. That's why thepiano was invented - musicians were fed upwith the harpsichord, because it couldn'timitate the human voice.'Hewitt studied classical ballet for 20 years.'That gave me a feeling for how to expressmovement in music. So many of the Preludeand Fugues are dances, even though theyaren't called gavotte or bouree.'WWW. TH EWHOLENOTE. COMInevitably what Hewitt is doing provokescontroversy, particularly over the Frenchbaroque repertoire. 'Of course there arealways going to be people who say youshouldn't play Couperin and Rameau on thepiano. They claim it doesn't sound as goodas on the harpsichord. Harpsichordists don'tlike it when somebody comes along playingit on the piano. But there are lots of peoplewho would never in their lives attend aharpsichord concert or buy a harpsichordrecording, even a lot of piano students. If Ican bring this wonderful music to theirattention and get them interested in it, then Ithink that' s really good.'I ask her whether she is sacrificing anythingmusically by playing baroque keyboard workson a piano. 'No, I don't feel that at all,' shesays. 'If I did, I wouldn't do it. There are somepieces of Couperin that I didn't record,because I thought they wouldn't come off atall on the piano. They really needed theclang of a harpsichord. Others were writtenfor three hands, or two keyboards, or aharpsichord with two manuals. Some, like LeTic-Toe-Choe you can manage on a piano, onone keyboard, but others you would have torewrite so much that you would lose thecharacter of the piece. But a lot of Couperin'skeyboard music is wonderful on thepiano.''I love the French repertoire. It's partlybecause of my teacher, Jean-Paul Sevilla,who introduced me to French music - Ravel,Faure, Roussel, Dukas, Pierne, and all ofthat. As a kid, I heard my father play a lotof French music. He gave many firstperformances in Canada of French organworks.' Her father, Godfrey Hewitt, wasCathedral organist in Ottawa for many years.More recently, Hewitt has started recordingBeethoven sonatas. 'Beethoven is anothercomposer who I feel has suffered from atradition of people not really paying attentionCONTINUES ON PAGE 12OCTOBER 1 - N OVEMBER 7 2007Back to Ad Index

Sunday October 21, 2007William Bolcom for Two PianosCo-presented with The Music Gallery I 197 John StreetGuest Artists: Elizabeth and Marcel BergmannSaturday+ Sunday - January 12+ 131 2008Chou Wen-chung and the Varese StoryBetty Oliphant Theatre I 404 Jarvis StreetNMC Ensemble I Robert Aitken solo Aute & directionAccordes quartet j Teri Dunn sopranoFriday February 8, 2008Timo & Magnus: Finland TodayCo-Presented with The Music Gallery I 197 John StreetGuest Composer Magnus Lindberg with Timo Korhonen guitarNMC Ensemble I Robert Aitken direction I David Hetherington celloFriday March 7, 2008Michel Gonneville and his Proteges I Gilbert I Ristic I Cote I Frechette I McKinleyGlenn Gould Studio I 250 Front Street W I NMC Ensemble I Robert Aitken directionAccordes quartet I Max Christie clarinet I Jean Laurendeau ondes MartenotFriday April I 11 2008Premleres I Alice Ping Yee Ho I So Jeong Ahn I Chris Paul Harman I Rodney Sharman I Juan TrigosGlenn Gould Studio I 250 Front Street W I NMC Ensemble I Robert Aitken direction I Accordes quartetDavid Swan piano I Dieter Hennings guitar I Kathleen Mclean bassoon I Erica Goodman harpWednesday June 4, 2008 I Sound and Poetry In Motion (soundaXls festival event}Isabel Bader Theatre I 93 Charles Street West I Guest Artists Robin Minard & Jaap BlonkMay 29 - June 15, 2008 I A Portrait of Robin Minard (soundaXis festival event}Installation and Retrospective of I O Years of Sound ObjectsGallery 345 I 345 Sorauren Avenue [free - ca ll 416 961-9 594 for hours of operation)Individual Tickets regular I seniors I arts workers I studentsSubscriptions 17 mnrs) $135 I I I Pick 3 (or more) each reg I 2 snr I +6% GSTJCall NMC @ 4 16 961 - 9594 I Repertoire, dates and artists subject ro changeIntroductions @ 7: IS I Concerts @ 8:00 I Fu ll details at www.NewMuslcConcerts.comBlB Canada Council Conseil des Arts!JA. ONU,RIO ARrs COU/ICU,© for the Arts du c.,nadal+I HeritageCanadian Patrimolnecanadlen)'J\ COflSEll DES AR TS DE l'OtlTAAlOtorontdartsbou n ci ISOCAf'-1l< 'l"ll\ 11ute THE GLOB: ANO MAJLWWW. TH EWHOLENOTE .COM11

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