Having reviewed some dodgy “concept albums” recently, I initially baulked at this release called Love Songs , with Angela Hewitt, comprising piano transcriptions by various composers and pianists (including the Hewitt herself). The phrase “personal response to the COVID pandemic” has become almost as gratingly clichéd as “jab”, “roll-out” and “Trans- Tasman bubble” and I imagined something rather cloyingly sentimental, even naff, but Hewitt’s innate taste, discernment and creativity have resulted in a lovely experience in a world still menacingly dark and grim for reasons apart from the pandemic! 

Angela Hewitt

As usual, Hewitt’s liner notes are a model of seamlessly melded scholarship and personal reactions and reminiscences. The thoughtfully included English translations, as skilful as they are, often seem suffused with a naïve euphoria. The usual suspects include Liszt’s masterful treatments of Schumann/Rückert Widmug (Dedication),  Schumann/Eichendorff Frulingsnacht (Spring Night) – the final song in the Liederkreis collection – Schubert’s Ständchen (Serenade) and Godowsky’s Schumann/Heine Du bist wie...