Ruth Leon recommends…  Bach – The Art of Fugue – Angela Hewitt

Ruth Leon recommends… Bach – The Art of Fugue – Angela Hewitt

Ruth Leon recommends

norman lebrecht

September 03, 2022

Bach – The Art of Fugue – Angela Hewitt

Click here to watch

Wigmore Hall’s Summer Replay, its catalogue of repeat live performances on video, has kept me going this summer. There hasn’t been a week that I haven’t dipped into it, no matter where I’ve been. Now that I’m home again, I’ve saved one of my favourites to the last.

Bach’s monumental Art of Fugue isn’t one to ‘dip into’. No, under the fingers and brain and artistry of a wonderful Canadian pianist,  Angela Hewitt,   this is a programme to wallow in.

There’s rather a good BBC Radio Three introduction from announcer Gavin Plumley which you can skip if you like but, if you’re not familiar with Bach’s astounding work, or even if you are, I find it helps to be reminded, in words as well as music, what each new section is about.

Left incomplete on his death in 1750, Bach’s vast contrapuntal work nevertheless stands not only as a monument to his extraordinary abilities in this field but also to his determination to create an exemplar for others to follow. Angela Hewitt’s recording had The Times extolling its ‘radiant majesty and humanity’.

This concert, indeed, all the concerts in the Summer Reply  series have been free but do leave a contribution to Wigmore Hall in the handy box. The Hall provide music-lovers and musicians with a fine service that’s worth paying for, even if you don’t have to.

Read more


  • GiFlyer says:

    Hewitt and Plumley — no thanks, I can go bore myself without their help

  • Sidelius says:

    Among living pianists who have done a large amount of Bach, there are only a tiny few that have attained the stratospheric regard among critics as Angela Hewitt. Richard Goode, Schiff, Perahia, maybe three or four others at most. At least, that is the sense I get from what I have heard, and my own listening. She is as close as we have to the immortal Glenn. So, not surprised you approve.

  • A Warth says:

    Much agreed. A truly pointless pianist who leaves little legacy other than self-important, superficial, motoric Bach. Of her Scarlatti and Beethoven the less said the better…

    • LIII says:

      Luckily her public and fans worldwide have a different taste. What a pointless, superficial comment you wrote! If you can’t say anything positive, I presume you seek attention with this.

      • Peter Ustion says:

        Her public is mostly ignorant housewives and big-toothed Americans and Brits. She is literally one of the most pointless musicians on the stage today…and pretty toothy herself.

        • Violinophile says:

          To AW & PU: Her trail of rave reviews would stretch for miles. She has impressed many very discerning audiences. Your insults reflect on you, not her. Disgusting.

        • LIII says:

          Also a super pointless en brainless comment. Show your face if you make it that personal. I bet we can make some remarks about your looks too. Better: look at the way you say this and try to think what you have contributed to the world of music (with your comments.). And yes, I’m a pro(fessional musician.)

    • Kenneth Wood says:

      Self important? Your own comment attests to your own sense of self importance in that you possess some superior scholarship of how Bach, Scarlatti and Beethoven should sound.

  • Sheila McLaren says:

    After the spiteful comments on Angel Hewitt, I can hardly wait to hear her play the Art of Fugue and then decide for myself, insofar as I am able to without being influenced by all the nastiness I’ve just read. What is the matter with all of you?