Earl Wild: The Complete Transcriptions And Origina

Album cover art for upc 5029365101752
Label: PIANO CLASSICS
Catalog: PCL10175
Format: COMPACT DISC

Miglietta, Giovanni Doria

Thanks to his prodigious technique and phenomenal sight-reading ability, Earl Wild (1915-2010) became pianist for Arturo Toscanini in 1937, while still in his early 20s, and played Rhapsody in Blue with them in 1942. Gershwin also forms the centrepiece of this third volume in Giovanni Doria Miglietta’s comprehensive survey of Wild’s own music. The Grand Fantasy on Porgy and Bess works all the best-known themes from the opera into a spectacular half-hour of pianistic devilry and enchantment. Lisztian in scope – and in the use of ‘Reminiscences’ in its title – Reminiscences of Snow White (1995) opens with glistening high-note scales, taking the listener into fairy-tale territories, with fragments of the principal themes of Disney’s movie scattered across the musical texture, most notably ‘Whistle while You Work’. Like Liszt, Wild had the gift of bringing popular music and high art together without compromising either idiom. Miglietta closes this dazzling album with Wild’s outrageously entertaining transcription of Jarabe Tapatio, otherwise known as the Mexican Hat Dance. Before that he plays four reworkings of classical repertoire, all respectful of their originals and yet imbued with Wild’s own effervescent personality: Le Rouet d’Omphale of Saint-Saëns, the Air and Variations from Handel’s harpsichord suite ‘The Harmonious Blacksmith’, and two Tchaikovsky pieces, a song and a dance from Swan Lake. ‘This is tremendously challenging music,’ remarked Fanfare of the first volume in this series containing Wild’s Piano Sonata, ‘and Miglietta certainly has the virtuosity that it requires… Fans of this repertoire will want to hear his perspective — and will eagerly await the rest of the series.’

Price: $22.99