SCHARWENKA:  Piano Concerto No. 1 in b-flat minor, Op. 32.  PADEREWSKI:  Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 17.  BALAKIREV:  Reminiscences of Glinka's "A Life for the Czar."
Earl Wild, pianist; Boston Symphony Orch/Erich Leinsdorf (Scharwenka); London Symphony Orch/Arthur Fiedler (Paderewski)
ÉLAN CD 82266 (F) (ADD) TT:  72:15

IVORY CLASSICS - Fifth Anniversary
TURINA:  Rapsodia sinfónica, Op. 66 (Earl Wild/Royal Phillharmonic Orch; Massimo Freccia, cond.).  CHOPIN:  Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17 No. 4 (Dame Moura Lympany). Waltz in A Flat, Op. 64 No. 3 (Ruth Slenczynska). RAVEL:  Toccata from Le Tombeau de Couperin (Ralph Votapek). Menuet from Le Tombeau de Couperin (Nadia Reisenberg).  FAURÉ:  Barcarolle No. 6 in E Flat.  Barcarolle No. 8 in D Flat (David Korevaar).  MOZART:  Sonata in C, K. 545 (Ann Schein).  MENDELSSOHN:  Song without Words, Op. 38 No. 5 (Shura Cherkassky).  PROKOFIEV:  Prelude in C, Op. 12 (Nadia Reisenberg).  HUMMEL:  Rondo in E Flat (Albert Wong). LISZT:  Transcendental Etude No. 5, Feux Follets (Ruth Slenczynska).  PADEREWSKI:  Fantaisie Polonaise, Op. 19 (Earl Wild/London Symphony Orch/Arthur Fiedler, cond).
IVORY CLASSICS 72010 (M/F) (ADD / DDD) TT:  71:08

The Élan CD was issued in 1995, a welcome addition to the catalog as it presented on CD for the first time Earl Wild's spectacular performance of Xaver Scharwenka's scintillating Piano Concerto No. 1, recorded in January 1969 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Leinsdorf, coupled with Wild's equally extraordinary 1970 recording, with the London Symphony/Arthur Fiedler, of Paderewski's Piano Concerto.  When the latter was originally issued on LP (LSC 3190) it was coupled with the same composer's Fantaisie Polonaise, Op. 19; some years later RCA issued the Paderewski concerto coupled with the Scharwenka. This has been out of the catalog for years so we are grateful to Élan for issuing these marvelous performances on a well-remastered CD, adding as a bonus the Balakirev/Glinka showpiece. Up until now, Wild's Fantasie Polonaise has not appeared on CD, a situation now rectified.

To commemorate their Fifth Anniversary, Ivory Classics has issued this disk featuring many artists heard on the label, all recordings never before released on CD.  Earl Wild is featured on fifteen IC sets in repertory ranging from Beethoven and Brahms, Chopin, Schumann and Liszt, to 21st Century piano sonatas—as well as the pianist's historic Gershwin performances highlighted by Rhapsody in Blue in the 1945 recording conducted by Paul Whiteman. Two major Wild performances are on this new CD, Turina's Rapsodia sinfónica recorded in Walthamstow Hall in London in April 1968 for Readers Digest, three years after Wild made his superb recording of all of Rachmaninoff's concerted works with the Royal Philharmonic conducted by Jascha Horenstein. Again Wild shows his versatility in the Spanish idiom, with Massimo Freccia and the RPO offering strong support, and wonderfully natural sound from the Gerhardt/Wilkinson production team.  Even more important is Paderewski's Fantasie-Polonaise recorded in 1970 with Arthur Fiedler and the LSO, a perfect supplement to Élan's CD mentioned above.

Many well-known pianists also are heard on this Ivory Classics disk—Moura Lympany, Ruth Slenczynska, Shura Cherkassky; other performances by Ralph Votapek, David Korevaar, Nadia Reisenberg and Ann Schein are equally impressive. And there is a look to the future.  Albert Wong, born New Year's Day 1990 in Boston, has displayed astounding musicality and virtuosity, evidenced by this live recording of Hummel's Rondo in E Flat from Carnegie Hall November 29, 2000 on the occasion of Earl Wild's 85th Birthday Recital. 

Both CDs are highly recommended.

R.E.B.  (December 2002)