- Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit (II), chorale prelude for organ, BWV 668a
Even though Angela Hewitt's repertoire is quite extensive and diverse, encompassing the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and modern eras, her true specialty is the music of J.S. Bach, which she has recorded almost exclusively for Hyperion since the 1980s. With this recording of "The Art of Fugue," Hewitt completes her long-running series of piano renditions of the solo keyboard works, and while not everyone is convinced that Bach composed this study of fugal techniques for the keyboard, Hewitt's performance is credible and satisfying. She controls the often unwieldy counterpoint by regarding the lines as if they were vocal parts, and her phrases are shaped by natural breathing points, as well as the different emotional qualities she brings to each fugue and canon. "The Art of Fugue" can be daunting for both performer and listener because its persistent tonality of D minor and monothematic material can be quite tedious in the wrong hands. Fortunately, Hewitt fights boredom by infusing the music with the full range of expressive and technical possibilities at her disposal, and her full performance has the nuances and variety of her recordings of the "Well-Tempered Clavier" and the partitas. Just as this masterpiece was the culmination of Bach's thinking on the subject of the fugue, it is a fitting conclusion to Hewitt's worthy service to the composer and a high point in her catalog.