Barber, Stravinsky, Hindemith & Wild

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Barber,Hindemith & Wild,Stravinsky
LABELS: Ivory
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: 20th- & 21st-Century Piano Sonatas
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Earl Wild (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 64405-71005
This CD is an 85th birthday tribute to Earl Wild, and I’m sure that we’d all like our fingers to be as supple and responsive at that age. Perhaps the fast movements aren’t quite as fast as they might have been a few years ago, but there’s no lack of energy and control, and if Wild falls short of the staggering virtuosity of the steel-fingered Horowitz in the final fugue of the Barber Sonata, what other pianist doesn’t? There is an extensive range of pianistic colour, but it’s all on the warm and beautiful side, even in the Stravinsky Sonata, which needs a drier approach: I can imagine the composer castigating this as sentimental. But Wild has always been known as a big Romantic pianist, and he’s at his most effective in the harmonically lusher moments – the slow movement of the Barber, and his own Sonata, which is permeated by jazz, popular music and the ghosts of other 20th-century composers. And even though a more detached Classicism might suit the Hindemith Third Sonata better, there’s no denying the poise and elegance that Wild brings to the work. The sound of the piano is extremely good, but far too many recording edits are audible. Martin Cotton

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