All tracks have been digitally mastered using 24-bit technology.
R E V I E W S
Earl Wild has been such a consistently youthful presence throughout the LP and CD eras that you can easily forget that the pianist who taped the “Virtuoso Piano” collection and the complete Rachmaninoff concertos 40 years ago was already a seasoned performer. Indeed, the pianist who churned out music-on-demand for ABC and NBC two decades before that was already a seasoned performer, too — as this souvenir of those years makes clear. To be sure, these performances don’t boast the depth of artistry or the control of tone heard in Wild’s more recent recordings. Next to the aching and artfully shaped 1993 version of Rachmaninoff’sRead more regretful Prelude in G, for instance, this version from half a century earlier, nearly half a minute quicker, seems slightly impatient and under-nuanced. And those who turn to Chopin’s A Major Polonaise for nobility and nostalgia may find Wild’s account too uninhibited. But whatever these performances lack in depth, they more than compensate for in brilliance: whether in the sting of the Mendelssohn, the spit of the rarely-heard Mussorgsky trifle, the rhythmic kick of the Scarlatti, or the quick reaction time of Rachmaninoff’s Polichinelle (played with an irrepressibly bold comedic spirit), they have a rare combination of sizzle and wit that’s impossible to resist.
The gem of the collection, not surprisingly, is the lean, nervous account of the Liszt Sonata, a frankly virtuosic reading marked by sharp edges, striking accents, and torrents of sound in the climaxes. Wild’s last recording of the piece, from the mid 1980s (see 24:5; there was also a recording in the 1970s), is richer in tone and far more willing to question and explore. But this earlier performance is so committed to its more sensational aesthetic that its high melodrama simply carries you along.
There are a few touches of pre-echo, but the sound is otherwise excellent, given the sources—and as always with Ivory, the notes and illustrations are exemplary. First-rate.
Fantasiestücke (2), Op. 17: no 2, Hexentanzby Edward MacDowell Performer:
Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic Written: 1883; Germany Date of Recording: 1940s Venue: Live NBC Radio, New York City Length: 2 Minutes 42 Secs.
Sonata for Piano in B minor, S 178by Franz Liszt Performer:
Earl Wild (Piano)
Period: Romantic Written: 1852-1853; Weimar, Germany Date of Recording: 1940s Venue: Live ABC Studio, New York City Length: 27 Minutes 48 Secs.
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