RACHMANINOFF-WILD: O, Cease Thy Singing, Op. 4 No. 4. To
Op. 26 No. 7. Do Not Grieve, Op. 14 No. 8. The Muse, Op. 34 No. 1. Vocalise,
Op. 34 No. 14. In the Silent Night, Op. 4 No. 3. Floods of
14 No. 11. Dreams, Op. 38 No. 5. Sorrow in Springtime, Op 21 No. 12. The
Little Island, Op. 14 No. 2. Midsummer Nights, Op. 14 No.
5. Vocalise Op 34 No. 14. In the Silent Night, Op. 4 No. 3. Where
Beauty Dwells, Op. 21
CHOPIN: Mazurkas Op. 59 Nos. 1, 2 and 3. Mazurkas Op. 63 Nos. 1, 2 and
3. Ballade No. 3 in A flat, Op. 47. Ballade No. 4 in F minor, op. 52. Polonaise
No. 5 in F sharp minor, Op. 44. Polonaise No 6 in A flat, Op. 53. Mazurka
in F minor, Op. 68 No. 4
"Scriabin and his contemporaries play Scriabin"
Earl Wild is a recognized specialist in music of Rachmaninoff. Now 88, Wild was only 6 the first time he attended a concert by the Russian master and attended many more performances during the next two decades when Rachmaninoff played not only his own music but standard repertory as well. Wild states Rachmaninoff has been the most important musical influence in his life and doubtless this is true. Wild's 1965 recordings of all of the concertos and Paganini Rhapsody with Jascha Horenstein and the Royal Philharmonic remain among the finest ever made. The pianist loved Rachmaninoff songs and once met and spoke extensively with Russian soprano Maria Kurenko who had sung many of the songs with the composer at the piano. In 1981 Wild transcribed twelve of Rachmaninoff's songs, and there's no question the true Rachmaninoff idiom is always present. Wild recorded all twelve in New York in 1982, available for some years on a now discontinued CD (Dell'Arte CDDBS 7001). Now Ivory Classics has reissued these superb recordings in fine new remasterings sounding better than ever. We have duplicate performances of two songs: In the Silent Night and Vocalise. For the latter work I much prefer the more expansive 1982 version. There are three performances of Where Beauty Dwells. Wild's rich piano sonorities have been vividly captured by the engineers. For those who love Rachmaninoff's piano music this is essential.
Young Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski's Chopin collection is highly attractive. It focuses on the composer's later works, featuring Ballades 3 and 4, and the two biggest Polonaises, Nos. 5 and 6, along with seven mazurkas. Anderszewski's playing of the bigger works is highly athletic—no mincing at the keyboard here whatever—and his approach to the exquisite mazurkas is gentle and beautifully shaped. Recorded in Air Lyndhurst Studios in England in June 2003, the sound is excellent. CD notes by Olivier Bellamy rightfully praise the pianist's earlier recordings of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. The only negative for this CD is the playing time of only slightly more than an hour—not much for a full-priced CD.
Pierian's Scriabin CD is a fascinating issue containing all of the composer's Welte Mignon recordings from 1910 as well as other recordings of his music played by his contemporaries including Josef Lhevinne who is heard in the Nocturne for the Left Hand. Other pianists will be unfamiliar to most collectors: Russians Konstantine Igumnoff (1873-1948), Alexander Goldenweiser (1875-1961) and Leff Pouishnoff (1891-1958), Magdeleine Brard (1902-?)from France, and Austin Conradi (1890-1965), Baltimore-born American pianist. Of particular interest is inclusion of two very different Welte Mignon recordings of the Mazurka, Op 40 N. 2, one by the composer, the other by Goldenweiser. Kenneth G. Caswell made these transfers from the original piano rolls played back on a restored 1912 Welte Mignon piano. An intriguing CD for pianophiles.
R.E.B. (April 2004)