Angela Hewitt

Chopin: Nocturnes

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Angela Hewitt has applied the same intense study to Chopin's Nocturnes and Impromptus as she does to any composer's keyboard works. The result is a set of pieces lovingly played and appreciated, with personally felt emotion. The most outwardly emotional displays, as in the Nocturnes, Op. 15, are never wildly loud and always return to an introverted state afterward. In the Nocturnes she uses little touches of rubato so frequently as to almost stretch the melodies out of shape, as in Op. 9/1, but she plays many of the Nocturnes a tick faster than other pianists so that they stand up to that kind of manipulation better, and she never slows down to fit in ornaments. Her ornaments always fit right into the melody, both in her timing and her phrasing, and are feathery soft. She applies that same softness to the outer sections of the Nocturnes, Op. 27, for a lustrous blend of color. The Impromptus are a little more outgoing, but still heartfelt and uncomplicated. The "Fantasy-Impromptu" opening is impressively fast and smooth, with a good anchoring bass line. The middle section, like the Nocturnes, has those tiny, frequent rubatos to give it particular detail. Hewitt's readings are highly personalized, yet wholly musical.

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