Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Len Mullenger:

SERGEI RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3*(1909)  EDWARD MACDOWELL Piano Concerto No. 2** (1884-88)  *Earl Wild (piano) RPO/Jascha Horenstein rec London 20 May and 3 June 1965; **Earl Wild (piano) RCA Victor SO/Massimo Freccia rec London 14 Feb 1967 CHESKY CD76 [62.31]


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These recordings are classics of recorded sound. Ideally lively and tastefully forward the sound is uniformly desirable. It is in the best traditions of another recording house of the 1960s: Decca (witness the sound they secured for Stein's collection of tone poems in the early 1970s).

As for the performances they are consistently poetic and dramatic. Wild and Horenstein seem to have been soulmates and the partnership with the rather obscure Freccia in the Macdowell seems to have been no less successful although Wild does not appear to have made any other recordings with Freccia.

The Macdowell is not a desperately memorable work and certainly it pales in the company of the masterly Rachmaninov work. Nevertheless it is work of refined charm and Griegian power. The Rachmaninov is simply glorious - a hymn to the romantic Russian spirit hyper-magnified by distance and exile. For its era (the 1960s) there is no true competition and the only blemish is that Wild uses the cut version. Otherwise Wild is completely in touch with and articulates the snowy glories of the piece with complete identity and in harmony with conductor and orchestra.

Recommended. In many ways the coupling of one masterful work with another of wayward charm makes for an ideally complementary partnership. Good economical liner notes. Chesky are to be congratulated for the coupling and for their virile hold on healthy recording quality.


Rob Barnett


Rob Barnett

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