Piano Music of Earl Wild

Album review
Piano Music of Earl Wild

Earl Wild

Piano Music of Earl Wild

Label: Chandos
Media: CD
Genre: Classical

The late Earl Wild, one of America’s greatest pianists, wrote three major pieces based on Gershwin’s music: Grand Fantasy on Porgy and Bess, Improvisation on Someone to Watch over Me, and Seven Virtuoso Etudes. They are of respectable length—and depth. Wild was a virtuoso, and there is plenty of flash, but after a few hearings you begin to notice the thoughtful writing that puts it in context. There are no empty arpeggios here. The Grand Fantasy is a half hour spent with dear but enviably witty and gorgeous friends. The Improvisation has a part where the right hand’s repeated notes sound much like a mandolin. Wild’s own Sonata, from 2000, is substantial. There’s a bit of Prokofiev in the polished spikiness, and a little jazz—honest, not facile. The lovely Adagio has a relaxed humor to it. The last movement, “Toccata a la Ricky Martin,” is a knucklebuster with a melody that Wang plays quite sensuously. Somehow, Wild can combine all these influences without once sounding tacky. It’s a tribute to his compositional skill that another pianist has recorded his works (and Wang’s playing is rich, colorful, and completely idiomatic). The sonics top nearly any other piano recording I’ve got. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Xiayin Wang
  • CD

Search Music

Featured Music