Classical CD Reviews

BACH: Flute Sonatas – Andrea Oliva, flute/ Angela Hewitt, piano – Hyperion

An album of Bach flute works to treasure.

Published on February 17, 2013

BACH: Flute Sonatas – Andrea Oliva, flute/ Angela Hewitt, piano – Hyperion

J.S. BACH: Flute Sonatas – Andrea Oliva, flute/ Angela Hewitt, piano – Hyperion CDA67897, 78:00 [Distr. by Harmonia mundi] *****:

I have been immersed recently writing about Bach’s music for solo violin and cello; it’s been a nice change to listen to the no less substantial power and beauty that resides in this collection his real and suspected flute sonatas. In particular, BWV1035 in E major, and BWV1030 in B minor show Bach drilling down to focus his writing for one specific instrument; as with the cello and the well-tempered tuning system that made the piano’s dominance possible, Bach was keen to exploit the full potential of an powerful new instrument which was only just coming into its own.

Oliva’s lyricism and agility coupled with Hewitt’s musicianship, not to mention her own hybrid-retro style with Bach’s music, make this an album to treasure. The recording was made in the Jesus Christus Church in Berlin, and the results have an intimate resonance that gives Oliva excellent acoustical space in which to exploit his instrument’s characteristics and repertoire of nuance, timbre and tone. Hewitt’s piano sounds gorgeous, as it always does.

Nicholas Anderson’s excellent liner notes create a discussion about the transition from recorder to flute at the beginning of the 18th century that could sell a few million CDs, or whatever their equivalent is on any given day.

This is an extremely important release on more than just the high artistic purpose it has sought for and achieved. It signals to the classical music industry that renewing the classical music legacy continues to be an available engine of growth and sustainability. Together, the sounds that Oliva, Hewitt and the Hyperion team have created open new doors into the Bachian future.

TrackList:

Sonata in B minor, BWV1030 (Bach)
Sonata in C major, BWV1033 (Bach)
Sonata in E flat major, BWV1031 (Bach)
Sonata in E major, BWV1035 (Bach)
Sonata in E minor, BWV1034 (Bach)
Sonata in G minor, BWV1020 (Bach)

—Laurence Vittes




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