van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Piano Sonata in E flat major, Op. 31 No. 3 (1801-02) [22:28]
Piano Sonata in B flat major, Op. 106. “Für das Hammerklavier” (1817-18)
rec. Fernleaf Abbey, Columbus, Ohio, April 1994 (Op.31 No.3)
and St Barnabas Church, Finchley, London, February 1984 (Op.106) IVORY CLASSICS 76001 [64:16]
of these performances is new. Op. 31 No. 3 was recorded in
1994 and issued on Dell’Arte [0590, subsequently conjoined
with Op.22 on CDDBS 7004] whilst the Hammerklavier was taped
a decade later for Chesky. Both are imposing, clear sighted,
logical and impressive achievements.
No.3 or The Hunt finds Wild fully in control of those
elements of alternation between pomposo and elegant precision
that so animates it. The watchword is clarity throughout
and fingerwork is lucid. Wild avoids mannerisms, rhetorical
point making, stylistic over-inflation and extraneous gesture.
He simply gets down to the business of music making without
fuss. The Scherzo therefore is deftly characterised, sent
on its way with rhythmic control, tension generated through
purely musical means and no elastic rubati. The finale is
smoothly assured, untroubled.
companion work is again a fount of digital clarity, a paring
down of gestures. Wild’s way is not for the heavily philosophic
or in any way ponderous, either in terms of tempo or style.
He sees these two very different works, in a sense, in a
kind of Beethovenian continuum. Naturally the Hammerklavier
is an altogether bigger work in every sense but Wild brings
to it the same qualities of control, buoyancy, rhythmic engagement
and apposite weight that he demonstrated in The Hunt.
He brings a rugged, powerful direction to the Scherzo and
a non-philosophical sense of linear clarity to the slow movement.
His is not at all the kind of performance that, say, Schnabel
or Solomon espoused but then the sense of clarity he brings
to the Fugue in the finale aligns very well with his conception
of the sonata as a whole. It necessarily clarifies and to
an extent objectifies things but does so with a necessary
sense of struggle, though not physical or digital struggle
needless to say. Wild’s mechanism is admirably intact.
performances have been well served in respect of documentation
and presentation and the sound quality is well balanced.
If you enjoy readings that are assured in direction, tonally
rounded, sympathetically lean and unsentimentalised, then
Wild will fill the bill nicely.
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