- Goldberg Variations for keyboard, BWV 988
The next time a ballet company presents Jerome Robbins's choreography of Bach's "Goldberg Variations," they should consider engaging Angela Hewitt. The Canadian-born pianist plays Bach's monumental set of variations with exceptional grace. She has the power to transform her Steinway grand into a majestic pipe organ, as she does magnificently in Variation 29, but it's her clarity and delicate precision that set this interpretation apart. The music blossoms like a flower in Hewitt's hands, with leisurely yet lithe tempos that allow a sense of gentle unfolding. And although every repeat is scrupulously observed, she varies each repetition with such careful consideration -- adding elegant ornaments and revealing new contrapuntal details -- that the effect is mesmerizing. Staking a middle ground between Glenn Gould's inspired madness and Rosalyn Tureck's uncompromising sobriety, Hewitt's sublimely elegant performance may be the most easily recommendable version on records.