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Beethoven Piano sonatas 9-10 and 13-14 Opp.14 & 27

I welcomed Peter Hewitt’s earlier CD of Beethoven piano sonatas warmly, for it seemed as though he was a Beethoven player of much potential, and a similar reaction is conveyed by this new disc. The quality of this young man’s interpretations is apparent, and his account of the ‘Moonlight’ immediately struck me as being quite exceptional. Others may feel rather differently with regard to his phrasing in the second movement of that work, but it is surely as the composer intended and not as heard (as is so often the case) through some later nineteenth century Romantic ears. The point is that when the eruptive finale bursts upon us, it does so with renewed force, crowning a very fine performance, in which Hewitt’s attention to rhythmic detail is admirable.

Although the ‘Moonlight’ is one of two sonatas with the subtitle ‘quasi una fantasia’ that phrase should more properly be applied to its companion, Op.27 no.1, which presents some truly formidable challenges to the pianist, not least in Beethoven’s remarkably original structural-organic innovations. As such, what might at first appear a straightforward work actually is a deeply subtle construction, and Hewitt, to his credit, has the measure of this often overlooked masterpiece very fully, relating the first and last movements admirably in terms of overall form at the same time as relating the inner much shorter movements within the totality.

Throughout this is Beethoven playing of no little distinction. Here is a young artist to watch, a thoughtful and completely assured pianist in total technical command, with a lively and intuitive musical mind to match, as the interview with him in the booklet testifies. The recording quality is admirably clean and clear.

Robert Matthew-Walker
International Record Review
July/August 2011

Beethoven Piano Sonatas Nos. 5-7 Op.10 Nos. 1-3

It would be all too easy to overlook a new CD of Beethoven’s Op.10 Sonatas from a small independent label, played by a relatively unknown young pianist, but I have been so impressed with this disc that I urge you to seek it out and listen to it. This is immensely musical and convincing Beethoven playing from an artist who has already earned well merited praise from Vladimir Ashkenazy, John Lill and Andras Schiff. The most impressive aspect of Peter Hewitt’s artistry is that at no time does he get in the way of the music – this is Beethoven speaking directly to us, a statement that can so rarely be applied these days, even to the playing of famous and widely acclaimed pianists.

Hewitt’s technique is flawless, and is always placed at the service of the music; he often reveals tiny details, within the overall phrase or paragraph, which one had either overlooked or forgotten, but which are in the score – and he does so in ways that do not impair the flow of the music. Not that I necessarily agree with every last dot and comma of these performances: I feel that his tempo for the Presto finale of the F major sonata is a shade too fast, but equally I found it compelling in its drive and in the revelation of Beethoven’s often humorous points, so that it is impossible to withhold praise – and in this movement, Hewitt’s closing bars are tremendous. His account of the slow movement of the D major sonata is indeed profound.

... here is the finest Beethoven piano sonatas debut disc I have heard in years; it deserves a place in every CD coll ection. The recorded sound is excellent.

Robert Matthew-Walker
International Record Review
February 2005

Additional Comments and Feedback

These are excellent recordings and I don’t know what to admire more – Peter’s flawless technique or phrasing or dynamic range or rhythmic precision but above all Peter’s understanding of Beethoven. I played the CDs several times yesterday to our friends and they were very impressed.

Antonin Tucapsky composer

The performance of the Op.31 Sonatas are so wide-ranging – fresh, inspiring, searching and illuminating. These are recordings to be very proud of.

John Lill pianist

 

Congratulation and thanks for your latest CD. I have listened to it three times and find that your interpretations adds a whole new dimension to Beethoven. You really do make us listen to the silence and the playing is so pure, crisp, light, subtle and thoughtful. During No.16 I wrote things like ‘Chopinesque’, ‘gossamer-like’; ‘like watching snowflakes crystallise’; and ‘spacious’. During No.17 I wrote: ‘suspense’, ‘drama’, ‘the music whispers at the end of the first movement’. Simon Rattle-like hushed pianissimos’; in the Adagio: ‘Time is suspended with sound hanging on nothing’, ‘Marvellous!’. During No.18 I wrote: ‘It has a Schubertian wit’; ‘like foliage fluttering in a sunlit wood’; ‘subtle changes of key and rhythmic variety, great’; And throughout the whole performance I was so impressed by your touch. It certainly contains some of the finest playing I’ve heard from you. You have really made me listen to Beethoven in a new light.

Edward Storey poet

All my favourite sonatas and what ravishing playing. Even better than the one before which I also loved. What’s special, is that it shows the light delicate side of Beethoven which was a revelation. Congratulations!

Lis Leigh author

I’m writing now as I’ve been listening, pretty much nonstop to the two Beethoven recordings I purchased at the concert. If they were records they would have been scratched now from being overused! I listen to them again and again while working and from time to time I find myself just stopping and closing my eyes and listening, nearly moved to tears. I really feel the music just piercing my heart.

Dalia Hartman Bergsagel Nikken Wellness Consultant

Well done with the Op.31 CD. It is really good – as expected. I thought I might follow it with the score, but soon decided against it: everything is presented with such clarity that following with the score is superfluous. The recorded sound is excellent as is the sound of the piano. It is just a pity that the CD’s dedicatee is – presumably – less than fully aware of what has been dedicated to him!

Antony Peebles pianist

WOW – I thought Peter Hewitt’s sonatas were brilliant! Solo piano is so hard to pull off. Peter is able to make each sonata exciting. My mind didn’t wander once. His technique is so fluid and passionate with subtle shadings. I immediately listened to the disc all over again! Thanks so much for the pleasure.

Ray Greenblatt poet

I’ve had nothing but rave reviews from people to whom I sent your latest CD. I think it is excellent. Also I gather you’ve been getting good words on Radio 3. I very much enjoyed the ‘Moonlight’ – is it one of the fatest last movements I’ve heard? Altogether a tour de force to be well pleased with.

David Pennington banker

Astonishing meticulousness of preparation coupled with a real knack of making me listen – unusual in music so familiar.

David Newbold Trinity College of Music professor

Thanks very much for the 2 Peter Hewitt Beethoven Sonata CDs. I like them both very much. His playing has a wonderful, clear articulation and somehow "feels" right. I also like the recordings very much. The differences between instruments and locations are clear and interesting, but the sound is always immediate and satisfying. I have ordered the first CD now, and will keep up with the series as it progresses.

What wonderful music it is!!!

Richard Platts website purchase

 
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