December 4th, 2011


Angela Hewitt at Jordan Hall on Friday

On Friday night we went to a Celebrity Series concert at Jordan Hall to hear Angela Hewitt. She played three Bach French Suites (4, 5, and 6), and Debussy's Suite bergamasque, Suite: Pour le piano and L'isle joyeuse. I called it an all french program! It was a very fine concert.

The program had the three Bach suites in the first half and the Debussy in the second but an announcer said the bergamesque and the middle Bach suite would be swapped - a good choice I think for more variety in sound character. While listening to the first Bach I was thinking that it would have been better on the harpsichord (I'm not a purist like some people) and have played (not very well) Bach on both the piano and the harpsichord. The other two Bach suites seemed perfect for the piano.

For an encore she played Golliwog's Cakewalk from the Children's Corner Suite and nothing else. The Golliwog was a character in a 1895 book by Florence Upton that was very popular. It became an important symbol on a line of food from a British company in the early 20th century. The Golliwog doll was a very popular children's toy in Europe. Later there were various attempts to ban its use because of the racial overtones.

I'm glad she played nothing else - this was a nice ending to the concert. I think too many performers get carried away with the applause and try to play too much. Although I do remember the first concert I attended alone as a kid - it was Walter Gieseking and he played about 10 encores and it was really exciting to me.

This is not Hewitt, but Claude Debussy playing: