This artfully constructed programme is actually a compilation
album drawn from disparate source material. The Haydn sonata
comes from a University of Maryland recital in 1982. It sounds
as if it were recorded on cassette though the actual sound itself
is not at all bad. Wild’s articulation is crisp and even
in the opening and he brings a reflective stillness to the slow
movement. Things are weighted, and also freighted with depth,
not least in the expressively rolled chords. He relishes the
skittish fun embedded in the finale and plays it with requisite
Mozart’s Variations on a theme by Gluck K455 offers even
more opportunity for playfulness, as well as a slightly more
extended canvass. Wild plays with a sure appreciation of the
comedic, operatic elements of the writing, and ensures that deft
articulation conveys them.
The Clementi sonata was recorded at the YMHA in NYC in 1978,
and is the second earliest of the recordings. Again it’s
not a perfect recording and I don’t think anyone is pretending
it is. Nevertheless it does preserve a performance that once
again brims with commitment and assurance. Articulation is one
of the buzzwords of the playing: here it is bright and almost,
at points, fortepiano-ish. Perhaps the finest moments emerge
in the central movement in which the rolled, almost guitar-like
quality that Wild evokes supports the decorative finery of the
aria that is spun out with such grace. This is lovely playing.
Perhaps the biggest find in the set of performances comes with
Buxtehude’s Suite. This is a Voice of America recording
via the Library of Congress. It was recorded in 1951. It has
been released before but didn’t achieve large circulation.
It was taken down in Carnegie Hall, and though somewhat dully
recorded it courses with romantic nobility and generosity of
phrasing. There is plenty of warmly moulded and colouristic playing
here, as well as a sure sense of drama, and subtle differentiation
of the character of each piece. Try for example the stark gravity
of the Sarabande.
The final piece is Mozart’s K332 Sonata, taped in London
in 1980. He captures an improvisatory element in the sonata,
through free embellishments, though tends to eschew repeats.
He is lovingly but not indulgently expressive in the slow movement
and is full of panache, pose and personality in the finale. It
completes a vivid performance.
Wild’s legion of admirers will want to grab this ‘early
music’ example of his pianism. Sonic considerations are
really minimal in the light of the rarity of some of these items.