Angela Hewitt, pianist

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 May, 2010, 12:00am

1. The Goldberg Variations - J.S. Bach

I was 16 when my teacher, Jean-Paul S?villa, decided I should learn it. He said: 'Many young pianists have the fingers needed to play it, but not many have the brains.'

2. The Well-Tempered Clavier - J.S. Bach

It has been the biggest challenge of my life. The amazing variety, the endless invention in the fugues, how he combines the dance element with formal structures - gives satisfaction to those who spend time playing or listening to this music.

3. Piano Concerto No 20 in D minor - Mozart

I love its tension and drama - at first held back, but then exploding in the wonderful finale. Its vision is tragic, yet the change to the major at the end is, in a good performance, totally overwhelming.

4. Valses Nobles et Sentimentales - Ravel

It demands great clarity, presence of mind, and imagination. Valses Nobles et Sentimentales was evidently Ravel's favourite among his piano works, and I don't blame him.

5. Widmung (Dedication) - Schumann-Liszt

It's an unbeatable encore and always has everyone in tears - including me! The beautiful original by Schumann (a love song for his wife Clara), is given the full treatment by Liszt, and it carries you away. The text is wonderful: 'You my soul, you my heart ...', and should be sung by the pianist while playing (silently, of course!) to get the right inflexion.