"Earl Wild Goes To The Movies"
RODGERS-WILD: Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. STEINER: Symphonie Moderne. LISZT: Un Sospiro. RÓZSA: Spellbound Concerto. CHOPIN: Grande Polonaise Brillante, Op. 22. MOZART: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K. 467
Earl Wild, pianist/Various Orch & Cond.
Ivory Classics 70801 (M) (ADD) TT: 68:00

This new label focuses on "The Art of the Piano" and "The Art of the Pianist." They will be reissuing fine performances from the past, many never before issued on CD, played by both well-known and unjustly-neglected pianists. "Earl Wild Goes To The Movies," is a reissue of recordings made from 1963-1983, licensed from Reader's Digest, all produced by Charles Gerhardt, and engineered by the legendary Kenneth Wilkinson. These have been perfectly transferred to silver disc and sound better than ever. The title of this CD is perhaps a bit misleading, as some of the music never was featured specifically in movies, although it well could have been; but it doesn't matter, what is here is superb.

The CD begins with Earl Wild's inventive arrangement of Richard Rodgers' Slaughter on Tenth Avenue; just listen to the opening for a sample of the wide-range, dazzling sonic quality to be heard throughout. Two works written specifically for films are included, Symphonie Moderne by Max Steiner (Four Wives, 1939), and Spellbound Concerto by Miklos Rózsa (Spellbound, 1945,) are equally spectacular in both performance and sonics, with the "Big Cinema Sound" always apparent. Also included are Liszt's piano solo, Un Sospiro, played with gentle added orchestral accompaniment, and Chopin's Grande Polonaise Brillante, Op. 22, which has its own orchestral accompaniment written by the composer although, to my knowledge, it has never been used in a film. The featured music on this CD is Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K. 467, the second movement of which figured so prominently in the 1967 Swedish film, Elvira Madigan. The entire concerto is played here, and a high point is the inclusion of Wild's own appropriate, elaborate cadenzas for the first and last movements. Wild is as stylish in Mozart as he is in film music; this is a fine performance of polish and character. The Royal Philharmonic and various pick-up orchestras provide accompaniments under conductors Harry Rabinowitz, Eric Hammerstein, Douglas Gamley, Russell Stanger, Anthony Randall and Charles Gerhardt.  Recommended!

R.E.B. (Sept. 1999)