Sunday, January 24, 2010

Earl Wild

Earl Wild has died at age 94. The great pianist made me a fan of Rachmaninov, thanks to his marvelously extroverted recordings of the concertos and the Rhapsody with Jascha Horenstein. (They're readily available, on Chandos and, in audiophile pressings, Chessky.)

He had a remarkable pianistic pedigree: he studied with Selmar Jansen (a student of D'Albert and Schwarkenka, both Liszt students), Paul Doguereux (a student of Paderewski), and Egon Petri. Whew.

He was the first pianist to give a televised recital - in 1939! - and he toured with Eleanor Roosevelt, playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before her speeches. He played both 19th c. virtuoso music and new music. His discography includes 35 concertos, 26 chamber music recordings, and a staggering 700 solo works. And watch for his memoirs, to be published this year by Carnegie Mellon Press.

Ave ateque vale!

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