Disc Details

Chopin Scherzos & Ballades


Disc.Image

Chopin Scherzos & Ballades Chopin Scherzos & Ballades

$ 14



Disc.Contnets

Ivory Classics CD-75001

Chopin Scherzos & Ballades

Frederic Chopin (1810-1849):


Piano: Earl Wild

Producer: Michael Rolland Davis

Engineer: Ed Thompson

Piano Technician: Andrei Svetlichny

Piano: Baldwin

Remastered from the original 1990 release these performances show Earl Wild at the top of his form. "One of the last torch-bearers of the pianist-Titans Rachmaninoff, Hofmann, and Busoni, makes his mark here. It's an elegant inscription, of perfect dimension and clarity. The evenness of his mechanism is stunning. I think the keystone to this disc is the third Scherzo. The bell-like bass is stupendous."

Disc.Reviews

I especially enjoyed Earl Wild's recital of Chopin's 4 Ballades and 4 Scherzos. This is one of the finest recordings of these scores that I have heard and are worthy of a place in any collection.

In the Scherzo No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20 Wild provides an abundance of drama amid the intensity of the anger and power. Glorious melody abounds in the Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31 with playing from the American soloist that is delicious one minute and bursting with ferocious power the next. The performance of the Scherzo No. 3 in C sharp minor, Op. 39 conveys darkness and scorn with the smooth coolness of a block of polished marble. With his expressive playing of the Scherzo No. 4 Wild communicates spirited humour with a darting sense of restlessness.

This is a highly impressive recital of an elevated standard that will delight and satisfy most listeners. I remain a strong advocate of Artur Rubinstein's remarkably compelling 1959 New York City performances of the Scherzos. These acclaimed recordings are available on a marvellously re-mastered RCA Victor Red Seal Living Stereo SACD 82876-61396-2 RE1 (c/w 4 Ballades) and also on RCA Victor Red Seal 09026 63045-2 (c/w 4 Ballades and Tarantelle).

The Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23 is given a performance that abounds in incident. We hear an exciting amalgam of passion, vigour, poignancy, athleticism, tenderness and impulsiveness; rather like the life story of an intrepid adventurer. The playing of the Ballade No. 2 in F major, Op. 38 contrasts beauty and delicacy with a wild storminess. In the Ballade No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 47 the soloist evokes the innocence and emotional reassurance of the infant's nursery against a character of flamboyant impulsivity. Irresistibly enchanting, the Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52 in this interpretation has a highly perfumed, dance-like quality.

Wild recorded this recital for Ivory Classics in 1990 at Fernleaf Abbey, Columbus, Ohio. I was impressed by the high standard sonics that are bright, vividly clear and well balanced. The ample booklet contains an interesting essay of the Scherzos and Ballades by Christopher Weiss together with a biography of the pianist.

My longstanding benchmark recording of Chopin's 4 Ballades are the magnificent performances from Arthur Rubinstein that he made in 1959 at New York City. Rubinstein's interpretations are truly magical and I find it hard to imagine that I will hear playing that contains more poetry and expression. The Rubinstein recordings are available on RCA Victor Red Seal Living Stereo SACD 82876-61396-2 RE1 (c/w 4 Scherzos) and also on RCA Victor Red Seal 09026 63045-2 (c/w 4 Scherzos and Tarantelle).

Perahia also greatly excels in Chopin's 4 Ballades. He recorded them in 1994 in Switzerland. I admire his expansive lyricism that combines power with sensitivity in what is arguably Perahia's finest recorded recital. It is available on Sony Classical SK 64399 (c/w selection of Nocturnes; Etudes; Mazurkas etc).

Michael Cookson, Music Web.com, Feb. 2008


I especially enjoyed Earl Wild's recital of Chopin's 4 Ballades and 4 Scherzos. This is one of the finest recordings of these scores that I have heard and are worthy of a place in any collection.

In the Scherzo No. 1 in B minor, Op. 20 Wild provides an abundance of drama amid the intensity of the anger and power. Glorious melody abounds in the Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31 with playing from the American soloist that is delicious one minute and bursting with ferocious power the next. The performance of the Scherzo No. 3 in C sharp minor, Op. 39 conveys darkness and scorn with the smooth coolness of a block of polished marble. With his expressive playing of the Scherzo No. 4 Wild communicates spirited humour with a darting sense of restlessness.

This is a highly impressive recital of an elevated standard that will delight and satisfy most listeners. I remain a strong advocate of Artur Rubinstein's remarkably compelling 1959 New York City performances of the Scherzos. These acclaimed recordings are available on a marvellously re-mastered RCA Victor Red Seal Living Stereo SACD 82876-61396-2 RE1 (c/w 4 Ballades) and also on RCA Victor Red Seal 09026 63045-2 (c/w 4 Ballades and Tarantelle).

The Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23 is given a performance that abounds in incident. We hear an exciting amalgam of passion, vigour, poignancy, athleticism, tenderness and impulsiveness; rather like the life story of an intrepid adventurer. The playing of the Ballade No. 2 in F major, Op. 38 contrasts beauty and delicacy with a wild storminess. In the Ballade No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 47 the soloist evokes the innocence and emotional reassurance of the infant's nursery against a character of flamboyant impulsivity. Irresistibly enchanting, the Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52 in this interpretation has a highly perfumed, dance-like quality.

Wild recorded this recital for Ivory Classics in 1990 at Fernleaf Abbey, Columbus, Ohio. I was impressed by the high standard sonics that are bright, vividly clear and well balanced. The ample booklet contains an interesting essay of the Scherzos and Ballades by Christopher Weiss together with a biography of the pianist.

My longstanding benchmark recording of Chopin's 4 Ballades are the magnificent performances from Arthur Rubinstein that he made in 1959 at New York City. Rubinstein's interpretations are truly magical and I find it hard to imagine that I will hear playing that contains more poetry and expression. The Rubinstein recordings are available on RCA Victor Red Seal Living Stereo SACD 82876-61396-2 RE1 (c/w 4 Scherzos) and also on RCA Victor Red Seal 09026 63045-2 (c/w 4 Scherzos and Tarantelle).

Perahia also greatly excels in Chopin's 4 Ballades. He recorded them in 1994 in Switzerland. I admire his expansive lyricism that combines power with sensitivity in what is arguably Perahia's finest recorded recital. It is available on Sony Classical SK 64399 (c/w selection of Nocturnes; Etudes; Mazurkas etc).

In the performances of these three 'all Chopin' discs I did not experience any excessive showmanship, outsized personality or contrivance. Wild's playing seems to evolve from his inherent feel for the music. It is often understated yet radiates a sense of instinctive individuality. At times I demanded more extremes of dynamic yet the personality of the playing greatly satisfies owing predominantly to the immense integrity of these cultivated interpretations. On a general level if one requires their Chopin performances to have additional servings of passion, vitality and drama one needs to hear interpretations from Murray Perahia, Maurizio Pollini, Grigory Sokolov and Martha Argerich. For those needing accomplished artistry and a special sense of poetry the playing of Artur Rubinstein is essential listening. I class Rubinstein as the consummate Chopin interpreter and at times marvel at the extent of his imagination, his lightness of touch and the poetry he brings to his interpretations. The warm and thoughtful playing of Claudio Arrau shares similar values to those of Rubinstein. One might also consider the talents of Vladimir Horowitz, a performer who is renowned for his remarkable insights and technique, and also Dinu Lipatti's scrupulous and subtle performances.

Over the years I have assembled an extensive collection of Chopin recordings and there are many wonderful interpretations available in the catalogues. My particular favourites are shown below. These three recital discs are not my first choice recommendations, however, they are splendidly performed. I'm sure that I will return to them often; especially the version of the Scherzos and Ballades.

Michael Cookson, Music Web.com, Feb. 2008


Earl's Chopin 75001 Gramophone review002.pdf (PDF document)

Gramophone, Dec. 2005


Earl's Chopin 75001 & Living History 75002 International Piano review 2005003.pdf.pdf (PDF document)

International Piano, Dec. 2005


Ivory Classics has reissued Earl Wild's recording of Chopin's Four Scherzos and Four Ballades, previously released on the Chesky label shortly after their recording in 1990. The extremely transparent, but not raw, remastered sound adds an extra kick to Wild's performance. Wild is often associated with Liszt, and Liszt is often associated with Chopin, so does that mean that Wild should be associated with Chopin? The way Wild performs these, they do sound something like Liszt's large etudes or tone poems. Wild has a strength and purposefulness in his playing that make these pieces grand and majestic and at times, thrilling. Even in the softer, quiet moments, such as the openings of Ballade No. 2 and Ballade No. 3, the directness and clarity of each note is the defining feature of the moment, rather than a silky phrasing. He does use well-shaped phrasing and fervent emotion in these, but no matter how passionate the music is, there is always that sense of texture in it. The clarity and almost complete detachment of each note from the next is like running your hand over a patch of fresh grass: it is smooth, yet not smooth. The energy of his playing is the other notable feature of these. It is a testament to his technique that he can play so precisely and yet still be compelling.

Allmusic.com, May. 2005


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