Brown Bread: Earl Wild

Earl Wild was an extraordinary pianist with that grand, big sound and that broad romantic approach – something rarely heard nowadays. A fine musician who has made my music listening incomparably richer.

A superbly gifted and unique artist, perhaps controversial interpretations at times but what a phenomenal technique. He certainly made Liszt listenable for me.

Wild recorded some odd things. Reynaldo Hahn for example, whose Piano Concerto must be the worst piece ever written, anyway rather more adventurous than his slightly “popular” image might have us believe. I was fortunate enough to have heard him in recital in London some years ago at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The audience was so hushed during his Chopin that at the end of one of the quieter preludes someone murmured “Lovely” and it was almost like an explosion.

It was a long evening, and he ended it with Balakirev’s Islamey. No sleeping through that racket.

R.I.P. Earl Wild 1915-2010

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