P1142. EARL WILD: Schumann Recital. (England) dellArte 7005, recorded 1984, London. Long out-of-print; final copy!
"Wild plays everything with consummate artistry. He has a technique that matches Horowitzs. But he also has a poetic sensitivity that refutes once-and-for-all the charge of superficial virtuosity.
- John Beversluis, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 1999
Pianist Earl Wild died on 23 January, 2010 at the age of 94. Since then he has been widely lamented as the last of the Romantic virtuosi. He devoted his entire life to his art music was his love from the age of four. He received extraordinary accolades over the years, being called a super virtuoso and one of the 20th century s greatest pianists. Earl Wild was an artist with the rare gift of being able to communicate serious ideas in an easy and elegant way that never took away from his own intellectualism. His ability to bring the tradition of the art of the transcription to a mid-20th and 21st century audience in a way that was uniquely his own garnered him the reputation as the finest transcriber of our time. He was an important and well-respected musician as well as a special individual who held true to his own integrity throughout his life. Mr. Wild also made many extraordinary contributions to the American musical scene. Whether it was in a concert or at a master class, Earl Wild held both his audiences and students spellbound with his abilities, his knowledge, his imagination, his musical intelligence, sensitivity and artistry, along with his tremendous sense of humor.
- Ralph Lockwood, 18 Dec., 2011
Liszt was often called a piano-centaur, so at one was he with the instrument. Earl Wild could be described in similar terms. The gift of absolute pitch revealed itself at age three as his avidity for the keyboard took prodigious strides. At six he read music fluently, and before he was 12 he was studying piano with Selmar Janson, a pupil of d'Albert and Scharwenka (both students of Liszt). Busoni's disciple, Egon Petri; Paul Doguereau, a student of Paderewski and Ravel; and Elena Barère, wife of the phenomenal Russian pianist Simon Barère, provided later tuition. With his superb mécanique and enormous hands, Wild was predestined to take his place among the great pianists, while his training and place in time spread before him the riches, traditions, and secrets of Romantic pianism. In his early teens, Wild was already composing, arranging, and transcribing music for radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh while playing piano and celesta in the Pittsburgh Symphony under Otto Klemperer. NBC hired him as a staff pianist in 1937, a stint that included playing under Toscanini in the NBC Symphony and with whom Wild gave a legendary broadcast performance of Gershwin's RHAPSODY IN BLUE in 1942, thereby coming to national notice as a major artist. During World War II, Wild served in the U.S. Navy playing fourth flute in the Navy Band, performing recitals at the White House, and frequently accompanying Eleanor Roosevelt to play The Star Spangled Banner on her speaking tours. From 1945 to 1968, Wild was employed by ABC as staff pianist, conductor, and composer. But it was as an interpreter of Romantic literature, especially Liszt - and such neglected figures as Thalberg, Herz, Scharwenka, Balakirev, Paderewski, Godowsky, and Medtner - that Wild was most notable. And, like them, he cultivated the art of piano transcription, re-creating the songs of Rachmaninov and Gershwin in his own omnicompetent style. Since his first recording in 1939, Wild compiled an imposing legacy of recorded performances combining scholarly savoir faire with the flair and visceral impact of the born showman. He was internationally in demand as a teacher.
- Adrian Corleonis, allmusic.com