Angela Hewitt has made a career as the other great Bach pianist from Toronto, though like her predecessor, Glenn Gould, she has recorded much more widely – from Couperin to Ravel. This is the third instalment in an ongoing cycle of Mozart’s Piano Concerti – this one devoted to two of his larger scale later works, No 22 with its varied instrumental accompaniment and the grand C Minor with its inventive clarinet obbligato.
Hewitt has chosen live performances – though you’d never guess it, so quiet and unobtrusive is the audience. And while there is an occasional blurred or overplayed passage where the left hand dominates, the variety of colour is amazing. Her performances are informed as much by earlier piano practice as individual insight.
She is joined by the National Arts Centre Orchestra who are equally vividly caught by the microphones, bringing out those inner incisive rhythms that we associate so strongly with Mozart. These are personal performances which admirably capture much of Hewitt’s live allure and we must remember that these concerti were ‘cutting edge’ when Mozart wrote them in the mid 1780s – so new in fact, that this was a mere decade after the introduction of the clarinet into orchestral ensembles.
Vividly recorded, these are fascinating documents of an artist at work but whether they’ll replace your own favourites (Uchida, Barenboim whoever…) is another matter.