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Earl Wild in Concert (1973-1987) Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826)
Rondo Brillante 'La Gaité' Op. 62 (1819) [5:12] Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Mazurka in C major, Op. 56, No. 2 [1:38]
Mazurka in C sharp minor, Op. 63, No. 3 [1:52]
Mazurka in C sharp minor, Op. 50, No. 3 (1842) [5:25] Eugen D’ALBERT (1864-1932)
Scherzo in F sharp major, Op. 16, No. 2 [4:42] Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Pavane pour une Infante défunte (1899) [6:02] Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847):
Song without Words in C major ('Spinning Song') Op. 67, No. 4 [1:37]
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Barcarolle No. 3 in G flat major, Op. 42 (1885) [6:42] Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925)
Étincelles, Op. 36, No. 6 [2:30] Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Barcarolle in F sharp major Op. 60 [7:55] Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Tarentelle styrienne 'Danse' (1890) [4:40] Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 in C sharp minor (S244/R106) [9:47]
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 4 in E flat major (S244/R106) [5:05]
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C sharp minor (S244/R106) [9:30] Earl Wild
rec; Track 1 recorded in Roy Thompson Hall, Toronto - March 1985,
Tracks 2-4 recorded in YMHA, New York City - November 1977, Tracks
5, 7 & 9 recorded in Queen Elisabeth Hall, London - October
1973, Tracks 6 & 10 recorded at Ohio State University, Columbus,
Ohio - Jan. 1987, Track 8 recorded at University of Maryland - July
1982, Track 11 recorded in Bunka Kaikan Tokyo - March 1983, Tracks
12, 13 & 14 recorded in Wigmore Hall, London - March 1986 IVORY CLASSICS
This is a far-flung conspectus of Earl Wild in concert. Recorded
between 1973 and 1987 we range variously to London, Tokyo, Ohio,
Maryland, New York and Toronto. As a result there is obviously
a change in recording quality, though I can’t say it perturbed
me greatly, if at all. And Wild, as they say, is Wild, a giant
of the keyboard, one whose discs are like single malt, to be sipped,
to be savoured – not guzzled.
It’s best to treat
this as a super-recital, edited through time and space to
form a Wildean whole. And with what better way to start than
the Weber Rondo brilliante – so full of panache and verve,
superfine digital clarity and lashings of cordon bleu élan.
The three Chopin Mazurkas offer their own rich rewards -
the pick is the Op.50 No.3 C sharp minor where Wild steps
up the chordal dance imperatives with tremendous assurance.
He always flew the flag for d’Albert’s Scherzo in F sharp
which he once again dispenses with bravura perception. It’s
through deft articulation that Wild, though never over-quick
when judged against the crudities of the stopwatch, keeps
Pavane pour une Infante défunte deftly moving forward.
His unsentimental approach, sparing of pedal, contrasts obviously
His sole Fauré
here – one doesn’t especially associate him with the composer
but there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be a master Fauréan
– is the G flat Barcarolle. This is an interesting performance.
He plays with almost capricious lightness – it’s bright, sun-dazzled
Fauré – but this, combined with the high level recording means
that it lacks intimacy and the lyrical warmth that the best
Fauré players (Thyssens-Valentin, Collard etc) find in it.
Similarly I do find his Chopin Barcarolle impatiently fast
– certainly along side such as, say, Rubinstein, Horowitz
and Moravec. Perhaps Wild’s conception of the Barcarolle as
a genre precludes reflective warmth?
But by the time
we reach the three Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies we are assuredly
on home ground. There is some simply scintillating playing
here. Those brief moments of less than perfect execution are
as nothing when one is confronted with playing as incendiary,
provoking and magnificent as this.
The main constituency
for this disc will be Wild’s legion of admirers, who will
know whether they need to add this world travelling disc to
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