I have to confess that despite being a lifelong amateur pianist, and really taking note of who's who in the piano world, I overlooked Angela Hewitt. What an oversight! If it weren't for XM Radio's Symphony channel that put on her version of the 2nd Keyboard Concerto with the Vancouver symphony, I would still be in ignorance. Sadly, the Vancouver recording is not available, but this later recording with the Australian Chamber Orchestra is available, on CD ONLY, from Amazon. The Hyperion label doesn't seem to offer MP3 downloads. (Harrumph!)
The Australian orchestra has been touted as the perfect accompaniment for Ms. Hewitt's artistry, and I have to agree; I heard a lot to like in this recording. For one thing, the instrumental solos and duos are often brought out as if the orchestra were made up of soloists. This is in a way in the Baroque tradition, where the instrumental parts may have been made up to highlight a well-known player, or even royalty (ie, Fredrick II of Prussia was a skilled amateur, and Quantz and other composers wrote pieces to fit his ability on the flute.)
The recording seems to have been manipulated in studio to push the piano back as a "continuo" when the concerti start, then push it forward when it is a solo. I find this strange to my ears; I'd have rather heard a natural, live mic and not this conceit. The sound in general is a bit muddy.
However, Angela Hewitt's interpretations of Bach are wonderful. She has a slightly dry tone that occasionally gets a bit more dewy and soft but never syrupy. Her agile trills and ornaments are never overdone or beg for huge attention. Her tempo is measured, not hasty or saggy-slow. There is a definite mind and taste behind these Bach concerti, not as eccentric as Gould's, but certainly a unique interpretation and well adapted to the piano. I like that this is not a "let's get back to 18th Century authentic instruments" because I really don't care for the tinny sound of the pianoforte and if it's harpsichord, well, that's another thing entirely. This is a great PIANO interpretation.
I particularly like her interpretation of Concerto for No. 2 in E major and the No. 5 in F minor, which was a piece I played as a student. (The second movement is may be familiar to you as an orchestral rendition in the film Slaughterhouse Five --the music that played when Billy Pilgrim was moved through time.
All in all, a great interpretation, a welcome CD and I hope Angela Hewitt will continue to record Bach, Mozart and other great works for the piano.