Notes and Editorial Reviews
Earl Wild: Chopin - Scherzos and Ballades
"I especially enjoyed Earl Wild’s recital of Chopin’s 4 Ballades and 4 Scherzos. This is one of the finest recordings of these scores that I have heard and are worthy of a place in any collection.
In the Scherzo No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20 Wild provides an abundance of drama amid the intensity of the anger and power. Glorious melody abounds in the Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31 with playing from the American soloist that is delicious one minute and bursting with ferocious power the next. The performance of the Scherzo No. 3 in C sharp minor, Op. 39 conveys darkness and scorn with the smooth coolness of a block of polished marble. With his expressive playing of
the Scherzo No. 4 Wild communicates spirited humour with a darting sense of restlessness.
This is a highly impressive recital of an elevated standard that will delight and satisfy most listeners. I remain a strong advocate of Artur Rubinstein’s remarkably compelling 1959 New York City performances of the Scherzos. These acclaimed recordings are available on a marvellously re-mastered RCA Victor Red Seal Living Stereo SACD 82876-61396-2 RE1 (c/w 4 Ballades) and also on RCA Victor Red Seal 09026 63045-2 (c/w 4 Ballades and Tarantelle).
The Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23 is given a performance that abounds in incident. We hear an exciting amalgam of passion, vigour, poignancy, athleticism, tenderness and impulsiveness; rather like the life story of an intrepid adventurer. The playing of the Ballade No. 2 in F major, Op. 38 contrasts beauty and delicacy with a wild storminess. In the Ballade No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 47 the soloist evokes the innocence and emotional reassurance of the infant’s nursery against a character of flamboyant impulsivity. Irresistibly enchanting, the Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52 in this interpretation has a highly perfumed, dance-like quality.
Wild recorded this recital for Ivory Classics in 1990 at Fernleaf Abbey, Columbus, Ohio. I was impressed by the high standard sonics that are bright, vividly clear and well balanced. The ample booklet contains an interesting essay of the Scherzos and Ballades by Christopher Weiss together with a biography of the pianist."
-- Michael Cookson, MusicWeb International
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