These recordings are the stuff of which golden discoveries are made. We all
know that in our musical explorations we can discover and joy in a work in
a version which is routine or poorly recorded or both. Later we may abandon
that recording. Often however the recording through which we discover a piece
is something to which we return time and again - sometimes recapturing that
first rapturous frisson.
Well, fortunate those who discover Rachmaninov's second concerto through
this recording. Although getting on for forty years old it wears its technical
age very handsomely. As for the performance, Wild is in supreme form. He
is technically awesome but more to the point (no Heifetz he!) he retains
and emotes with wonderful sensitivity and yet avoids bathos. I cannot say
any more about the performance except that it is desert island material.
The Horenstein Isle of the Dead is touched with the inexorable breathing
of glutinously moving waters - the throb of the slow swell and an infinite
resigned sadness. This is a very special recording to join Kondrashin's 1960s
recording of the Symphonic Dances. The two make-weight solo piano
pieces flesh out the playing time neatly but just a little incongruously.
Still, I would rather have them than not!
The ideal complement to the other Chesky Rachmaninov-Wilds. Recommended.
Note that in the UK the Chandos two-CD
coupling of concertos 1-4 is a more economical way of getting the concertos.
However, for that you have to abandon the Horenstein Isle of the Dead.
All Rachmaninovians will want this disc.
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto
No. 1 (1893) 24.00 Piano Concerto No. 4
(1926) 24.00 Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Earl Wild
(piano) RPO/Jascha Horenstein
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No.
EDWARD MACDOWELL Piano Concerto
*Earl Wild (piano)
RPO/Jascha Horenstein rec London 20 May and 3 June 1965;
**Earl Wild (piano) RCA Victor SO/Massimo Freccia
rec London 14 Feb 1967