“The Pastoral Sonata leads off Angela Hewitt's second Beethoven sonata cycle instalment, and she taps into the music's overall geniality while also paying heed to its darker corners. In the first movement, her accompaniments are full and resonant, yet convey a murmuring, disembodied aura, while she gauges the development section's silences and transitions to particularly dramatic effect. She also plays the central movements well, although the Andante's staccato left-hand lines are more characterfully bassoon-like in Stephen Kovacevich's hands, and some might prefer Richard Goode's more impetuous, angular fingerwork in the Scherzo. Yet Hewitt's conversational give-and-take between the droning left-hand ostinato and the main theme at the Rondo finale's outset is quite wonderful.
Having enjoyed Hewitt's edgy, fervent Appassionata, her Pathétique seems underplayed and studio-bound by comparison. Her fastidious, occasionally rounded-off execution softens the outer movements' ardour and momentum.
Hewitt's way with the C major Sonata, Op 2 No 3, boasts considerable profile and personality.
Her tempo fluctuations in the first movement (the lyrical G major theme, for example) illuminate rather than detract from the structure, while the Andante appears more internally animated than one would guess from its nearly eight-minute timing. The contrapuntal acumen that distinguishes Hewitt's Baroque interpretations brilliantly comes to the fore in the Scherzo. In contrast to the pouncing scintillation Kovacevich and Richter bring to the Allegro assai, Hewitt evokes Rubinstein's urbane poise and patrician control, and treats the display passages in the manner of rapid melodies. Small wonder that Hewitt considers this one of Beethoven's most fulfilling sonatas to perform. In addition to Hyperion's superb sound, Hewitt, as usual, provides her own penetrating, vividly articulate annotations.”