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Paderewski; Scharwenka: Piano Concertos

Release Date: 08/28/2007 
Label:  Ivory Classics   Catalog #: 77003   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ignace Jan PaderewskiFranz Xaver Scharwenka
Performer:  Earl Wild
Conductor:  Arthur FiedlerErich Leinsdorf
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony OrchestraBoston Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 33 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

PADEREWSKI Theme and Variations, op. 16/3. Piano Concerto. 1 Fantaisie Polonaise. 1 SCHARWENKA Piano Concerto No. 1. 2 Polish Dance, op. 3/1 Earl Wild (pn); Arthur Fiedler, cond; 1 London SO; 1 Read more class="ARIAL12"> Erich Leinsdorf, cond; 2 Boston S 2 IVORY 77003 (2 CDs: 91:56)

Except for the Polish Dance (originally released on a Reader’s Digest LP that eluded my grasp), I’ve lived with all of these recordings for more than 30 years. Yet whenever I put them on, I’m struck by their freshness. In part, that’s because this repertoire isn’t played that often: you’re not likely to bump into it on the radio or on your local concert series. Even more, though, the spirit comes from Wild’s scintillant playing, which refuses to take anything for granted but—simultaneously—refuses to take anything too seriously, either. Because of this rare and paradoxical combination of commitment and insouciance , of meticulousness and panache , Wild can play with the music without playing down to it, making it come alive to a degree unmatched by any other pianist (except for Hamelin in his rather different, but equally effective, recording of the Scharwenka First, 29:5). The succulent rubato in the first movement of the Paderewski Concerto, the searing virtuosity in the Fantaisie Polonaise (amplified by Wild’s idiomatic elaborations of the score), the sheer drive of the Scharwenka First, the clarity of the fingerwork, and power of the climaxes throughout—all represent mid-period Wild at his most vital and compelling, able to convince you, as you’re listening, that the three piano-and-orchestra works are every bit as worthy as, say, the Tchaikovsky First. Fiedler is a superlative coconspirator; and while Leinsdorf is hardly the partner I’d choose for a jaunt through Scharwenka, even he seems alchemized by Wild’s playing.

All of these performances have been available on CD before, but only the Fantaisie Polonaise remains in print, on a potpourri disc celebrating Ivory Classics’s fifth anniversary (26:5). The reprocessing is excellent too. Strongly recommended.

FANFARE: Peter J. Rabinowitz
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Piano in A minor, Op. 17 by Ignace Jan Paderewski
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Poland 
Miscellanea for Piano, Op. 16: no 3, Theme and Variations by Ignace Jan Paderewski
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1888 
Polish Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 19 by Ignace Jan Paderewski
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889 
Concerto for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 32 by Franz Xaver Scharwenka
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Poland 
Polish Dances (5) for Piano, Op. 3: no 1 in E flat minor by Franz Xaver Scharwenka
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869; Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Fabulous! September 23, 2013 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "Wow- what a fantastic recording one has here! Earl Wild's legendary technique combines with the glorious sound of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra in definitive recordings of some truly majestic Polish music. Both Arthur Fiedler and Erich Leinsdorf clearly understood Scharwenka and Paderewski, and their collaboration with Mr. Wild with these great orchestras has given us a set of performances of the highest possible artistic merit. I'd say this 2 CD set belongs on anyone's 'must have' list- it is simply sensational listening. Highest recommendations." Report Abuse
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