Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond


October 09, 2007

Photo: Simon Fowler
Why wasn’t I in San Francisco for the Appomattox premiere you may ask? Simply because there were more pressing matters in southern California this weekend and primary among those was a pair of solo performance from Angela Hewitt. Specifically, Hewitt appeared at the Segerstrom Concert Hall in Orange County as part of her Bach World Tour – 18 months of shows around the world featuring her well received recordings of Bach’s major keyboard works. Many of these stops, as the one here in Orange County, feature performances of both books of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier over two nights. The show will move on to Berkeley this week and Carnegie Hall next month. If you don’t have tickets for them, you should get them now.

Hewitt has developed quite a reputation for her Bach interpretations in no small part due to the avid support of a cadre of Gramophone editors and the British media more generally. And considering that, outside of a shrinking number of American journalists, they are virtually the only ones writing in the English language about classical music, that is saying quite a lot. As on disc, her playing here was remarkable. Not necessarily ground-breaking, radical, or avant -garde - but remarkable nevertheless. Her interpretations are clear and appropriately dramatic. They do exactly what a marathon performance of this type should: provide a hypnotizing flow and sense of wonder around the exquisite detail of these Bach miniatures. Perhaps you won't be gripping the edge of your seat throughout, but that isn't really always necessary anyway.

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