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Angela Hewitt is one of the hardest working pianists in the business, boasting an expansive repertoire that covers every century and tradition—but she is best known for the extraordinary work she has done in recording and promoting the music of J.S. Bach. In 1994 she embarked on a monumental challenge that would see her record all of Bach’s major keyboard works—a truly staggering achievement for which she became, in 2020, the first woman to receive the prestigious City of Leipzig Bach Medal.
To mark the occasion of this well-deserved prize, Hewitt traveled to Leipzig and, in the St. Thomas Church where Bach once worked and is now buried, performed one of the master’s most daunting and most beloved keyboard works: the Goldberg Variations. This set of 30 variations (plus a widely known Aria) is a showcase for all the hallmarks of Bach’s greatness: intricate contrapuntal genius, dazzling melodic creativity, and an out-and-out mastery of technique and voicing. “There are only a few works in piano literature,” says Hewitt, “which have the power to elevate us to such sublime grounds”—and there may be no other pianist alive who can play this work with the precision and exaltation of Hewitt.