Charleston Post and Courier, 9 Nov 2005
Pianist Delivers riveting performance
By William Furtwangler
Earl Wild is an American phenomenon.
This living legend pianist, just a few days short of his 90th birthday, offered a riveting program Tuesday night that gave his appreciative audience (including a lot of college-age students) a glimpse of what great piano playing is all about.
The College of Charleston School of the Arts presented Wild at the Sottile Theatre as part of its International Piano Series.
Wild opened with his transcription of an Adagio by Alessandro Marcello (1684-1750). Wild transfixed his audience with this short, somber work. Wild’s extraordinary keyboard style and gift of audience communication are at a level of the grand masters of the past.
Wild delivered a dramatic and intense reading of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 7 in D Major, Op. 10, No. 3.
A lot of pianists play Beethoven, but few achieve the Olympian quality Wild reaches.
Wild’s style is characterized by detailed articulation, poetic phrasing and a thrilling use of dynamic shading.
These qualities were apparent in Franz Liszt’s “Les jeux d’eaux a la Villa d’Este.” Liszt (1811-1886) composed an unbelievably beautiful and melodic picture of an ornate fountain; in Wild’s hands, it became otherworldly.
The next four works were Frederic Chopin’s (1810-1849): Ballades No.1 in G Minor, Op. 23, and No. 3 in A-flat, Op.47, Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Op.31 and Fantaisie-Impromptu No. 4, Op.66.
Wild offered us a masculine-sounding Chopin, without unnecessary neuroticism layered on, as many pianists today think is necessary.