These recordings are classics of recorded sound. Ideally lively and tastefully
forward the sound is uniformly desirable. It is in the best traditions of
another recording house of the 1960s: Decca (witness the sound they secured
for Stein's collection of tone poems in the early 1970s).
As for the performances they are consistently poetic and dramatic. Wild and
Horenstein seem to have been soulmates and the partnership with the rather
obscure Freccia in the Macdowell seems to have been no less successful although
Wild does not appear to have made any other recordings with Freccia.
The Macdowell is not a desperately memorable work and certainly it pales
in the company of the masterly Rachmaninov work. Nevertheless it is work
of refined charm and Griegian power. The Rachmaninov is simply glorious -
a hymn to the romantic Russian spirit hyper-magnified by distance and exile.
For its era (the 1960s) there is no true competition and the only blemish
is that Wild uses the cut version. Otherwise Wild is completely in touch
with and articulates the snowy glories of the piece with complete identity
and in harmony with conductor and orchestra.
Recommended. In many ways the coupling of one masterful work with another
of wayward charm makes for an ideally complementary partnership. Good economical
liner notes. Chesky are to be congratulated for the coupling and for their
virile hold on healthy recording quality.