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Ivory Classics Music

Earl Wild: Virtuoso Piano Transcriptions

Earl Wild: Virtuoso Piano Transcriptions

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Ivory Classics CD-70907
Earl Wild: Virtuoso Piano Transcriptions
Camille Saint-Saëns / Earl Wild

Piano: Earl Wild

Producer: Michael Rolland Davis
Engineer: Ed Thompson

(wp) = World Premiere Recording

Piano: Baldwin
Recorded at Fernleaf Abbey, Columbus, Ohio. May 7-11, 1995.
Mastered using 20-Bit State-of-the-Art Technology - HDCD Encoded

Earl Wild transcription scores are available here.

This exceptional recording is largely devoted to Earl Wild's own dazzling piano transcriptions. The Virtuoso Piano Transcriptions, the winner at the 39th Grammy® Awards, is being re-released on Ivory Classics in honor of Earl Wild’s 84th birthday! Praised by critics and music lovers around the world as a "stunning document of musical sensitivity and virtuosity" and "a tribute to America's greatest pianistic treasure" - this CD is now available in its original HDCD state-of-the-art audiophile sound.


Wild is one of the last pianists in the grand old Romantic virtuoso tradition. He is now 86 and still recording for his own CD label, but this collection is actually reissued from a 1995 Sony Classical release and is HDCD encoded. He has been called the finest transcriber of our time, and the 13 selections here are for the most part his own transcriptions of hits and encores by Handel, Chopin, Saint-Saens, Faure, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Kreisler, Rachmaninoff and others. The Serenade from Mozart's Don Giovanni is a delight, and Wild includes his own clever little suite of five tunes from Disney's Snow White. Eight of the transcriptions are world premiere recordings.

John Sunier, Audio Auditions, Aug. 2001

This CD is a reissue of the 1996 SONY disc which won a Grammy (Wild's 80th birthday album). The Grammy awards do not always select the best CDs, but in this case, they really picked a winner. This is one of the finest piano discs in years, and will likely become a classic. Wild's own transcriptions dominate the disc, and they show true originality and charm. I hope Wild records a follow-up to this album with Ivory Classics, which has produced a large number of classic piano discs recently. A must-have for anyone who enjoys the piano, or the lost art of transcription., May. 2001

Earl Wild is a pianist who has made the art of the piano transcriptions his trump card, relishing the possibilities for varied color and texture, melodic richness, and pianistic sophistication. We are reminded here of Wild's legendary feeling for pianistic texture, of his ability to make a line sing out against a shimmering, multi-colored background. This is a virtuoso program presented with flair and polished fingerwork. For piano lovers, there is much to enjoy and celebrate.

Gramophone, Apr. 2000

This Grammy-winning CD, originally issued by Sony under the title Romantic Master, crowned my Want List in 1996 (see Fanfare 19:5 and 20:2). Why Sony let it slip from their catalog--in fact, why Sony didn't inaugurate a long-term contract with Wild--is one of those baffling puzzles of corporate culture. Fortunately, in this case, Sony's loss is our gain, for Ivory Classic's HDCD reissue not only offers fuller notes but also, more important, sound that's even more detailed than that on the already excellent Sony version, providing as convincing an illusion of having a pianist playing in your own living room as you're apt to hear. As for the performances: A few items aside (the atypically circumspect Handel arrangement or Wild's churning Rachmaninov song), this is whipped-cream fare, and it's all played by the then 80-year-old Wild with a subtly impish elegance no other living pianist can match. My favorite remains Wild's Hommage, which melts a topping of Poulenc over the "Sarabande" from Bach's First Partita. But even after dozens of hearings, everything on this CD continues to astonish for its paradoxical combination of improvisatory warmth and complete control. A treasurable disc.

Fanfare Magazine, Feb. 2000

I am very enthusiastic about this release. Mr. Wild's technique is still there. In this set of piano transcriptions, almost all of them are by Wild himself. And what wonderful transcriptions they are. Everything is on the highest level both technically and interpretively. The most musically ingenious of all is the Hommage a Poulenc. Its ingenuity must be heard to be believed. As for the playing on this disc, it ranges from the merely extraordinary to the truly breathtaking. More Mr. Wild more!

American Record Guide, Feb. 2000

When Earl Wild performs, the Golden Age of the keyboard suddenly reappears. The pallid noodling that often passes for pianism these days vanishes - one hears echoes of Rachmaninov, Paderewski, and Hofmann.

TIME Magazine, Dec. 1994

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