Angela Hewitt takes a well-deserved break from her mammoth Bach and Couperin surveys to present us with this enthralling set of Chopin's most distinguished piano pieces—the complete Nocturnes and Impromptus.
Between 1830 and 1846 Chopin wrote eighteen Nocturnes that were published more or less in the order in which they were written. By spanning almost his entire creative life, they give us a marvellous opportunity to see not only how his early works were already totally inspired and original, but also how his style and emotional maturity developed through the years.
The four Impromptus date from 1835 to 1842. The title suggests improvisation; they might very well have been conceived as such initially, but we know that Chopin went through agonies when it came to writing a musical idea down. He would often spend six weeks on a page, only to return to what he had written in the first place. You wouldn't know it listening to these pieces. They are full of vitality and freshness, and carry us along with great fluidity.
Hewitt's performances are every bit as fresh as one would expect from the pianist hailed as ›one of the reliably mesmerising musicians of the day‹, with ›the ability to convey a spiritual seriousness that nonetheless does not exclude an utter charm‹ (The Sunday Times).
»One of the most elegant pianists around, the Canadian virtuoso Angela Hewitt interrupts her epic Bach and Couperin cycles for Hyperion to explore some of Chopin's most refined music, the complete Nocturnes and Impromptus. Hewitt's innate sophistication and delicacy of touch are perfectly suited to these exquisite pieces, 25 of them over two discs, by a master of the genre at the height of his fragile powers. Spanning almost his entire creative life, the Nocturnes amount to a remarkable graph of Chopin's emotional maturity, touchingly reflected in the affectionate care Hewitt brings to what sounds like a labour of love« (The Observer)
»In a catalogue boasting many distinguished Chopin Nocturne cycles, Angela Hewitt's commands attention« (BBC Music Magazine)
»Angela Hewitt is a sound buy … The delicacy of touch and manicured precision of the phrasing is a delight« (The Scotsman)
»Hewitt is not given to grand effects, whether an extreme rubato or rude dynamic change. Still, she can play grandly as well, as we hear on her powerful performance of the great Fantaisie-Impromptu in C# minor. This new recording of the nocturnes is what Marlon Brando would have called, if he had cared, a contender. It's richly recorded and beautifully played: it has art's final seal« (Fanfare, USA)