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Hewing Hewitt down to size

It?s a cool world, isn?t it, where one person is allowed to rhapsodize
about Angela Hewitt?s performance of the Goldberg Variations and another
person (me) is allowed to hew it.

The very fact that she is Canadian renders her rendition all the more
wanting to my ears. Not because she dared to challenge Gould on his own
turf (I think he would have admired that), but because having done so,
she serves up a comparatively lifeless recording. It seems to me that if
you?re going to throw down the gauntlet and compete with the status quo
you?d better have something miraculous up your sleeve.

It is no exaggeration to say that perceptions of Bach were upturned by
Gould's once provocative interpretations and his influence on later
generations of pianists and listeners has been nothing less than
definitive. But while The Gouldian Way has become standardized as common
currency, it isn't easily counterfeited. As he insisted in his own
approach to music, there is little point in recording classical music if
you can't say something new about it. (The Iliad gets rewritten every
day but in endless permutations of Homer's progenitor. As with classical
texts, so too with classical scores.) To take on the Goldbergs at this
point in time and do anything less than novel with them strikes me as
the ultimate in hubris. I?m sorry to say that Hewitt, instead of
delivering a fresh, daring new interpretation of her own, offers nothing
that will set the classical music world alight, as you-know-who did back
in 1955. To be fair, while she is technically competent and certainly
not unlikable, she just doesn?t have the wizardry to cast a magic spell.
The spirit of Glenn Gould reincarnated in Angela Hewitt?? Pure

But, don?t take my word for it, F_Minors. You can all listen to it on
the Amazon site for free and decide for yourselves if I am tone-deaf.
The Aria and Variation 7 are downloadable in Liquid Audio format:


Listen and comment.

Birgitte Jorgensen