Chopin: 4 Ballades and 4 Scherzi
Chesky Records CD 44, DDD
Earl Wild piano
May 1990 in Fernleaf Abbey, piano: Baldwin
Michael Rolland Davis
As a Chopin interpreter, Earl Wild has only one peer that I know of, and that is the late, magnificent Josef Hofmann. If I went on for another thousand words, I could not devise higher praise than that. It seems almost incredible that we could have a pianist of this stature and tradition captured in the finest recorded sound I have ever heard. The task of choosing recordings that meet the highest standards of both performance and recording is made ridiculously simple by this disc.
Robert Hesson, Stereophile, June 1989.
These are large-scale, dramatic readings, generating excitement from far below the surface, and as free of gimmickry as of cliche. One senses long and intimate commitment, reflection, and out-and-out love for music and music-making. Earl Wild continues to be one of the masters of the great Romantic repertory. In addition to its musical virtues, the disc strikes me as one of the finest recordings of a piano I have yet heard – as uncluttered and direct as the playing itself, and ideally focused to give us the perspective of the best seat in the hall rather than the inside of the instrument.
Richard Freed, Stereo Review, March 1991.