Although it was the Irish pianist‐composer John Field who created the form ‘nocturne’, it was Chopin who realised its fullest possibilities as a medium for expressing some
of his most sensitive and poetic thoughts. “They have,” wrote James Huneker of Chopin’s nocturnes, “the exotic savour of the heated conservatory, not the fresh scent of the flowers grown in the open by the less poetic John Field … Chopin loved the night and its starry mysteries; his nocturnes are truly night pieces, some wearing an agitated, remorseful countenance; others seen in profile only; while many are like whisperings at dusk – Verlaine moods.” In this recording the late Earl Wild abandons the usual chronological ordering in favour of mood, key and effect. Described as “one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century” (The Guardian), it was the American virtuoso’s wish through recording the Nocturnes to provide listeners with what he described as a “link to the romantic spirit and tradition of the past”, all the while emulating the abundance of technique and unfettered imagination that characterises the playing of who he considered to be history’s greatest interpreters of the set (Rachmaninoff and Paderewski, among others). Renowned for his “deeply considered interpretive approach and ironclad technique” (The New York Times), Wild achieves this and more – for many, his interpretations are the ones against which all others are to be judged: “It’s the finest collection of complete Nocturnes ever recorded. The instrument cannot be played more perfectly” (Harold C. Schonberg, FI).
* A classic recording of the complete Nocturnes by Chopin, by one of the greatest 20th century pianists.
* This recording was made in March 1996, Fernleaf Abbey, Columbus, Ohio..
* It stands out for its crystal clear, deeply felt but never sentimental playing of these “night pieces”, in which Wild captures the silvery transparency and the mysterious atmosphere.
* “Beauty and grandeur” (Diapason), “It’s the finest collection of complete recordings of Chopin Nocturnes ever recorded” (Harold Schonberg).
* Booklet includes detailed notes on the music.