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CD Review

Earl Wild

Plays Chopin, Liszt & Fauré

Earl Wild, piano
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Malcolm Sargent
National Philharmonic Orchestra/Charles Gerhardt (Fauré)
Chesky CD93 72:41 ADD
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More of the impeccably restored Reader's Digest recordings from the 1960's. Despite some hiss and the occasional dropout, Wild's playing emerges gleaming from the lush orchestral backdrOp. The Chopin is rife with elegant, balletic gestures - hear the opening solo of the third movement - Wild is preternaturally assured. Only a little more verve from Sargent in the quicker tempos would have made this showing more piquant.

Following the Fauré bonbon, the beloved Liszt clamors for attention with a tutti that is so maestoso it's almost lugubrious. Thankfully, Wild returns the balance with his charged (yet musical) playing of the famous octaves. This is a broader, more rhapsodic performance than Wild's later one with Kostelanetz. Again, Sargent's slower beat has Wild champing at the bit sometimes, but the tension makes for a nice edge. Adequate notes by (as usual) Annette and Jeffrey Chesky; they always get the main points, but it wouldn't hurt for them to spring for more stylish commentary from time to time.

Copyright © 1997, Robert J. Sullivan