Michael White’s music news: Hampstead Arts Festival – Pianist Angela Hewitt plays Beethoven
07 November, 2019 — By Michael White
Angela Hewitt. Photo: Peter Hundert
IT would be tempting to call Angela Hewitt one of the Britain’s most illustrious pianists – except she’s actually Canadian and runs a festival in Italy which means that, though she lives here, she’s not often in the country.
But she is around next week for a recital in Hampstead Arts Festival on Wednesday. And her many fans will be pleased to know that it contains some Bach, the composer for which she’s best known. In fact her world-renown as a Bach interpreter is so encompassing that people sometimes wonder if she plays anything else. Though of course, she does.
Next Wednesday (November 13) it’s Beethoven, including the Eroica Variations. And the truth is, she’s been broadening her repertoire for some years now, aware that specialisation can be stifling when it becomes what the audience want to the exclusion of all else.
“Much as I love him, Bach is draining physically and intellectually,” she told me when we last discussed the subject. “It requires so much control. I’ve been contemplating a time in my career when I don’t play a single note of it for a whole season – but I know my agent won’t be happy about that.”
One thing that hasn’t changed for Hewitt is her dedication to the piano-maker Fazioli. Most contemporary top-league pianists tie themselves to Steinway, which effectively controls the market. Faziolis by comparison are niche, exotic, even more expensive and not everybody’s aural cup of tea.
But Hewitt is devoted to their sound and probably their biggest champion.
Discover why on November 13, 7.30pm, Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John’s Wood Rd NW8 7HA (near Regent’s Park). Booking: Hampsteadartsfestival.com