Franz Liszt (1811-1886):
-- DISC 1 --
Années de Pèlerinage Deuxième Année, Italie (S161/R10b)
Années de Pèerinage Troisième Année (S163/R10e)
Liebesträume, 3 Notturnos (S541/R211)
-- DISC 2 --
Johann Sebastian Bach / Franz Liszt
Fantasia and Fugue in G Minor (S463/R120)
Sonata in B Minor (S178/R21)
Harmonies poétiques et religueses(S173/R14)
Six Chants Polonais (S480/R145) from 'Seventeen Polish Songs', Op. 74 by Chopin
Piano: Earl Wild
Producer: Michael Rolland Davis
Engineer: Ed Thompson
Recorded in New York City, December, 1984
Remastered using 24-Bit State-of-the-Art Technology — HDCD Encoded
Critics and audiences all over the world have praised Earl Wild's virtuosity and musicality. In a continuing celebration of his 85th birthday, Ivory Classics is re-issuing some of his most collectible and most admired performances of Franz Liszt's masterpieces. Available for the first time, remastered in 24-bit high definition sound!
I'm very excited after listening to this 2-CD set of some of the best Liszt music for piano. We begin with the 'Dante' Sonata and end with the lovely Consolation No.3. What's in between? Music of light and dark, angels and demons. The Sonata is played as I want it played - finally! And Earl Wild is telling a story here. But the power! The grace! The lyricism! I've been listening to a lot of Liszt this year, by several players, and I have to say that I'm going to buy as much Liszt by Earl Wild as I can get my hands on. Judging by these two discs, I place him pretty much at the top of the heap of Liszt players. They all have their strengths, yes, but there's something about Wild. I'd love to hear him play the Transcendental Etudes, the Years of Pilgrimage, Paganini Etudes, the Waltzes, the transcriptions .... Buy this set and fall in love with Liszt again.
Amazon.com, Nov. 2001
Earl Wild is a premier Lisztian, one of the great Romantic pianists of our age, claims easily confirmed by this two-disc set of major Liszt piano works recorded I 1985 and issued here in splendid sound. The attributes of Wild's playing are all present on these discs - a big, burnished tone, the technique to make even the most difficult works sound easy, and mastery of both subtle rubato and grandiloquent rhetoric, both indispensable for satisfying Liszt playing. We hear this immediately in the Dante Sonata, where Wild's brazen colorings and wide dynamic range capture Liszt's depiction of the poet's Inferno. And we hear those pianistic virtues at the end of the recital as well, with a gently flowing, poetic Consolation No.3. the Sonata has been recorded by most of the century's great pianists, but Wild's interpretation is compelling by virtue of its flowing narrative approach - you feel he's telling a dramatic story that seethes with passion and has long chapters of philosophic reflection. Perhaps it's that storytelling aspect of Wild's Liszt that makes it so individual and at the same time so true to the Lisztian spirit. Everything on these discs is played at the highest level. Miss it at your peril.
Amazon.com, Jul. 2001
I'm pleased to report that Ivory Classics' remasterings reveal a more three-dimensional soundstage than the original release in 1985. These selections cover a broad spectrum of Liszt's diverse piano output and make an ideal introduction to his music. More importantly, Wild never fails to channel his virtuosity toward musical ends. He declaims rather than rushes through the Dante Sonata's myriad octave passages, and similarly takes time to orchestrate the B minor Ballade's groaning chromatic runs in the bass. The pianist also resists the temptation to turn Funérailles' central section into a mere octave etude, taking trouble to shape the rising right-hand chords. Wild spent his formative years working with opera singers, and it really shows in lyrical selections like the three Petrarca Sonetti, the Third Consolation, the Chopin/Liszt song My Joys, plus the Second and Third Liebestraume. This deserves a worthy place in any good piano library.
Classics Today, Jun. 2001
It's only been in the last two decades or so that legendary American pianist Earl Wild, now 85, came to be regarded as one of this age's keyboard giants. While Horowitz, Cliburn, Rubinstein, and a spate of European pianists -- especially the Russians -- were attracting the attention of impresarios and the public alike in the 1950s and '60s, Wild worked in the trenches, recording for lesser labels and often traveling the byways to give his always-electrifying recitals.
This new Ivory Classics issue documents recordings Wild made in New York City in December 1985. Some of his earlier Liszt recordings lacked depth and focused a bit too much on Liszt the virtuoso. Here, Wild's tempos are generally a bit slower, but his technique is fully intact.
His Petrarchian Sonnet 104 is among the best versions ever recorded, capturing both the fire and poetry in proper measure. His reading of the Dante Sonata is also compelling, perhaps a first choice of the dozens available. He doesn't allow "Un Sospiro" to turn saccharine by wallowing in its potentially suffocating beauties, nor does he miss the humor and color of the "Mephisto Polka" -- indeed, his account is one of the wittiest and most playful.
And the Sonata, Liszt's grandest keyboard effort, comes through in a riveting performance, full of drama and passion, with not an ill-judged tempo throughout. Neither is there the stifling air of calculation hovering above the keyboard here or a noticeable instance of virtuosic grandstanding -- something that can't be said about Argerich and Horowitz, compelling as their versions are. Good sound and excellent notes by Ivory Classics. In sum, this two-disc set is a thrilling document of Earl Wild's consummate artistry in the still-underrated music of Franz Liszt.
Robert Cummings, CDNOW, Feb. 2001