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Album review: Angela Hewitt, Faure: Piano Music (Hyperion)


Explaining music as well as she plays it is one of pianist Angela Hewitt’s strengths, whether in live performance, such as at her top-to-toe Bach’s Art of Fugue at her own festival in Umbria this summer, a formidable first, or on disc, as here, unfurling Fauré.   She knows that some regard the composer’s Nocturnes, Ballade, and Theme and Variations Opus 73 as “salon” music, and sets out to prove that these short pieces are as complex and nuanced at heart as they are serene and accessible on the surface.

Particularly masterly are the variations, the heartbreaking 7th and final 12th very lovely. Hewitt observes that Fauré, who did not die until 1924, was born in Schumann and Chopin’s lifetimes: the pianism and songfulness show their legacy.