Angela Hewitt played Bach's Goldberg Variations magnificently

I went with friends yesterday (May 24, 2009) to see Angela Hewitt at Chicago Symphony Center. She played Bach’s Goldberg Variations without an intermission (her only scheduled piece; it is quite long, having an aria and 30 variations). According to allmusic,

The Goldberg Variations are among the most sophisticated works ever written for keyboard, but the work does not sound like the awesomely complex compendium that it is. The music is deceptively simple and heartfelt, with a noble calm even when the performer is obliged to cross hands at lightning speeds.

Angela’s hands were clearly visible from where we were sitting, and therefore the difficulty of the piece was understandable both visually and aurally.

The performance was impeccable and astounding both in the areas of technique and style: she perfectly walked the line of mechanical precision and human art. It was simply the best performance of any type I have ever experienced.

There was no question that a standing ovation was coming, and, within a second or two after her performance, the rather full house was on its feet. Angela took four curtain calls and at least returned to the instrument to play, again beautifully, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” After the encore, she took two or three more curtain calls, thereafter going to the gift shop of the hall to sign CDs.

I must thank one of my great instructors for showing me by playing at her Yamaha her principle of “concepts” in piano performance; I could very clearly hear and understand them yesterday. I must thank a newer instructor for the introduction to the piece and the performance, as well as a wealth of other information and ideas recently imparted. Blessings to you both!

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