WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Liszt: Don Juan Fantasy; Mephisto Waltz & Polka / Earl Wild


Release Date: 12/13/2011 
Label:  Piano Classics   Catalog #: 21   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 7 Mins. 

This title is currently unavailable.



Notes and Editorial Reviews

A strong entry for Wildeans. Prepare to be gloriously singed.

This two-disc compilation constitutes a veritable feast for admirers of Earl Wild. All the performances on disc one were recorded live in London (1973), Chicago (1979) and in Tokyo (1983) and were first issued on Ivory Classics 73002, from which company it has been licensed by Piano Classics. Liszt is a Wild speciality and the means at his disposal: a quicksilver, dramatic, leonine control over rhetoric, a big, burnished malleable tone and an incisive command of structure. This suits very well as a description of his mature playing of the B minor sonata - a piece not here - though we have more than one example of his way with it on other Ivory releases.
Read more Instead we have more than enough to demonstrate quite why he has been held in such esteem - and awe - these many years. I should sound a mild cautionary note about the recording quality from these venues first; there can be a clangourous sound that, very occasionally, leads to climax distortion. But I should also add that these are, by and large, rare moments and I can guarantee that, so swept up will you be in some incendiary music-making, that you won’t notice, still less care.

Let’s start with La Leggierezza in this extrovert, propulsive and intoxicating reading. Yes, maybe he can push the rhythm in his driving torrent but just listen to the brilliantine treble, the stunning technical resource, and also the interpolated (Wild composed) coda, a witty sign-off in the tradition of Leschetizky. Such leonine magnificence is heard in Un Sospiro the changing performances of which the assiduous Wild collector can trace back to a 1946 Stradivarius LP and thence forward to Etcetera LPs and CDs in 1987 as well as a Pearl disc from 2000. Funérailles receives a high wire and unremittingly virtuosic traversal, magnificently contoured and strongly rhetorical with an intensifying screwing up of tension. It’s only slightly vitiated by a somewhat clangy piano attack, as preserved in the recording, which can blunt the ultimate transmission of that level of tension and power. For a more nuanced and less Krakatoan performance try the Quintessence LP of the late seventies or the Etcetera discs already cited. But there is really very little to quibble with here, even given the octane frenzy Wild exhibits with such panache. It’s a slight shame that Paysage ends so abruptly - leading me to speculate an instant outburst of applause (it does slightly break the spell) - and whilst Ricordanza isn’t quite note-perfect, should such considerations trouble you, it has a truly noble poeticism throughout.

The Valse Oubliée No.1 is full of flighty wit and colouristic skill and depth. There’s some tape hiss in La Chasse but such is the dramatic incision of the playing on offer, so reverberant are the flourishes, that one feels oneself in some huge Vulcanic forge scorched by the energy of the pianism. The two Petrarch Sonnets are examples of super-Romanticism in action; more ascetic listeners might find these and the recital as a whole too much red meat but one always finds that Wild is ultimately on the side of the Angels and generally doesn’t go in for trick inflations, texture thickenings or the like. For readers who may blanch there are always the rather more measured studio recordings; in the case of the Sonnets for instance go to Etcetera for No.47 and to a multiplicity of sources for No.123 - I’d recommend an EMI disc of 1973 if you can get it or the Quintessence LP of 1978. Such is the bravura of the playing that avenues like this open up all the time.

For the second disc we go to rather better established territory via a Vanguard LP of 1968. This needs less saying about it. It simply exudes Wild’s protean greatness and rightness in matters Lisztian. There’s a vast reservoir of technical adroitness on offer, fusillades of diablerie in a repertoire designed to show it off. Meyerbeer and Mozart, through Robert le Diable and Don Juan, light the fuse for Liszt’s exceptionally punishing writing. Wild offers a battery of pianistic delights, barnstorming in the Meyerbeer concoction, glittering and witty in the Mozart (and never interested in speed for its own sake), precise in Gnomenreigen, and wisely warm in passages in the Mephisto Waltz. Incidentally there’s a particular pleasure to be taken in hearing the much less well known Mephisto Polka where the echo effects are expertly realised.

A strong entry for Wildeans. Prepare to be gloriously singed.

-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Concert Etudes (3) for Piano, S 144: no 2 in F minor, La leggierezza by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1848; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 26 Secs. 
2.
Concert Etudes (3) for Piano, S 144: no 3 in D flat Major, Un sospiro by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1848; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 46 Secs. 
3.
Harmonies poétiques et réligieuses, S 173: no 7, Funérailles by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845-1852; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 12 Minutes 42 Secs. 
4.
Paysage, etude for piano in F major (Transcendental Etude No. 3), S. 139/3 (LW A172/3) by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851 
Length: 4 Minutes 42 Secs. 
5.
Ricordanza, etude for piano in A flat major (Transcendental Etude No. 9), S. 139/9 (LW A172/9) by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851 
Length: 9 Minutes 28 Secs. 
6.
Hungarian Rhapsodies (19) for Piano, S 244: no 4 in E flat major by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846-1885; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 55 Secs. 
7.
Sonetto del Petrarca No. 47 (Benedetto sia'l giorno; II), for piano (Années II/4), S. 161/4 (LW A55/ by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1846 
Length: 5 Minutes 58 Secs. 
8.
Années de pèlerinage, deuxième année, S 161 "Italie": no 6, Sonetto 123 del Petrarca by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1849; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 6 Minutes 7 Secs. 
9.
Valses oubliées (4) for Piano, S 215: no 1 in F sharp major by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Rome, Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 45 Secs. 
10.
Mephisto Polka for Piano, S 217 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 1968 
Venue:  Vanguard Classics Studios 
Length: 3 Minutes 59 Secs. 
11.
Grandes Études de Paganini: La Capricciosa No. 2 in E flat major by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851 
Length: 4 Minutes 42 Secs. 
12.
Grandes Études de Paganini: La Chasse No. 5 in E major by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
13.
Grandes Études de Paganini: La Campanella No. 3 in G sharp minor by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851 
Length: 4 Minutes 39 Secs. 
14.
Réminiscences de Robert le diable: Valse infernale, transcription for piano (after Meyerbeer), S. 41 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840 
Date of Recording: 1968 
Venue:  Vanguard Classics Studios 
Length: 10 Minutes 5 Secs. 
15.
Concert Etudes (2) for Piano, S 145: no 2, Gnomenreigen by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1862-63; Rome, Italy 
Date of Recording: 1968 
Venue:  Vanguard Classics Studios 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
16.
Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke, S 514 "Mephisto Waltz no 1" by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859-1860; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1968 
Venue:  Vanguard Classics Studios 
Length: 10 Minutes 44 Secs. 
17.
Réminiscences de Don Juan (Mozart), S 418 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1968 
Venue:  Vanguard Classics Studios 
Length: 17 Minutes 5 Secs. 
18.
Paraphrase on a Waltz from Gounod's "Faust", S 407 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1861; Weimar, Germany 
Date of Recording: 1968 
Venue:  Vanguard Classics Studios 
Length: 10 Minutes 11 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title