On Wednesday, March 7 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, Early Music Vancouver (EMV) welcomed iconic Canadian Bach pianist, Angela Hewitt to the stage to perform Bach’s signature piece, the Goldberg Variations. She is part of a larger one-off series featuring artists performing the same piece with various interpretations and on various musical instruments. Before her, EMV welcomed jazz pianist Dan Tepfer to perform the Goldberg Variations, as well as, harpsichordist, Davitt Moroney.
I got to interview Matthew White, Artistic Director of EMV, and ask him questions in advance of Angela Hewitt’s performance about this series. Bach’s Goldberg Variations is a piece “you can never hear too many times.” In fact, musicians like Angela Hewitt present a great deal of creativity in interpreting the tempo, tone, and musicality in such a way that brings the music to life. Part of the reason for the series, as Matthew explained, was to give an opportunity for audiences to hear different interpretations and appreciate the differences in each.
I went to go watch the performance live and was astounded at the sheer discipline Angela Hewitt had in controlling the flow of the music in exactly the way she wanted. From playing extremely softly, just barely touching the notes on the keyboard, to jumping her arms to and fro with force, the whole set was dynamic. From beginning to end, with no intermission, Angela played with focus and complete dedication. I appreciated how the music did not have interruptions. It was a steady continuation of melodies I had heard before but enjoyed even more seeing someone of Angela Hewitt’s stature on stage performing.
This being said, one of EMVs mandates is not only to bring a repertoire of crowd-pleasers to the audience. Upcoming in its last two performances of the 17/18 season is an evening celebrating the work of German Baroque composer, Georg Philipp Telemann, and an evening focused on works by Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. In the 18/19 season announced on the same evening as Angela Hewitt’s performance, works by Zimmerman, Schubert, Britten and Couperin were announced to be featured. Whether you know these names or not, EMV invites you to take a chance on even the unknown and be surprised in what you might find!
More information about upcoming performance by EMV can be found here.
The full interview with Matthew White can be found here.