Earl Wild: Chopin, The Complete Etudes
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Why? It's simple, I suppose. Rather than astound us by the strength of his virtuosity, by slapdash bravado incurred merely to impress, or by exerting the forefront of his persona, instead of allowing the music to reveal itself, Mr. Wild impresses completely by his lack of artifice, his utter sensitivity, and his uniquely distinctive approach. By no means is there a want of passion or fire; afterall, Earl Wild is still Earl Wild. However, and this is the key issue, the reason Mr. Wild's Chopin keeps us unfailingly mesmerized is the endless and absolute poetry of his glowing performance.
Every etude impresses; every etude leaves an emotional mark; every etude, in Mr. Wild's hands, sounds newly-written, whether dreamy or impulsive, steeped in the deepest musical understanding and conception, the most penetrating awareness and clarity.
Yes, certain liberties are taken by Wild, but never at the expense of the music; in fact, the idiosyncrasies make the etudes all the more intriguing, all the more compelling. One can only speculate on how all these "facets" of Chopin's marvelously inventive miniatures escaped our noticing.... until now. This is Mr. Wild's "magic." And, in his case, would that it were so for us all--- with age has come a great, wondrous wisdom, generously shared.
[Running time: 66:15]
How pianists tend to play the set of etudes tend to encapsulate how the performers other works, which is why comparing the sets is quite enjoyable. There are direct approaches such as Maurizio Pollini, Murray Perahia, and more romantic approaches such as Alfred Cortot, and Shura Cherkassky. Personally I believe these works are more than just technical exercises. Earl Wild even at 77, perfectly addresses the technical challenges of each etude with ease, and plays each one with a beautiful and romantic sound. Earl Wild's set of etudes is one of the best sets of Chopin Etudes out there, and this is one of the best classical piano CDs to own.
The venerable piano virtuoso Earl Wild continues to challenge commonsense notions about aging as he keeps on delivering excellent performances of major works, such as those embodied in this new remastering of the 1992 recording of all 27 of Chopin's études (Op. 10, Op. 25, and the three later études). Playing a favored Baldwin concert grand piano in Fernleaf Abbey located in his home town of Columbus, Ohio, he made the original 20-bit digital recordings over a period of just five days. The sound is lively, resonant, and spatially well-imaged, with clear details and sensuous tone quality. Since I've not had access to the original 1992 recording, I cannot say how this 24-bit remastered disk (Ivory Classics 76003) compares with it, but it seems likely--on technical grounds, at least--to be a significant improvement.
Mr. Wild was 77 when he made this recording, but his technique appears to have been more than adequate to the task. His articulation of rapid passages is neat, clean, and even, with enough pedal to yield smoothness, but not so much as to blur details. His greatest contribution here, though, is in the poetry and musicality of his interpretations. He captures the musical essence of these fine miniatures--the shortest is less than one minute and the longest hardly more than five--and conveys it delightfully. This is perhaps the most enjoyable recording of the études available!
Chopin's études remind me somewhat of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, with its 24 preludes and fugues touching all major and minor keys.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
How many pianists do you know who could successfully play all of Chopin's Etudes at age 77? Many pianists half that age cannot even do it! Read morePublished on October 31, 2012 by NPUL
My husband is the Chopinophile so with some trepidation I selected this particular CD of the etudes, hoping that it would meet the mark. Read morePublished on July 27, 2007 by G. Sand