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<<  -- 3 --  John Bell Young    Discreet pleasures


That said, Mr Wild's performances are exquisite in every conceivable category -- technical, interpretive and aesthetic. So resourceful is his prismatic pianism that no line is denied its fully fluid dynamic status, assuaging each as he does with a thousand shades of affect. How deftly he manipulates the gentle hemorrhage of one voice into the next, imperceptibly emerging from a phrase or cadence as if it were the breaking of the dawn. In the aromatic Douloureuse Rêverie dans un Bois de Sapins [listen], or the diaphanous Mirage [listen], for example, he illuminates even the smallest harmonic shift as if it were a rose to be cultivated.

A disembodied quality has crept into Mr Wild's playing as late, as if he has moved into the realm of pure concept. There is not even a suggestion of the material or athletic in his music making, no matter how complex the physical gestuary that necessarily coincides with affective musical expression. And yet there is nothing in the least dispassionate or coolly abstract about any of it. On the contrary, he effortlessly discloses, at every turn and with enormous discretion, the rarified beauty of a figure or the internecine polemics that inform musical conflicts. He invests virtually every phrase with incomparable authority and elegance, paying tribute to a pianistic bel canto while rendering its texture completely transparent.

What Mr Wild invests so consummately in French music, then, is precisely the kind of fertile imagination and flexibility of line and form that it demands. Indeed, he is the Rolande Barthes of the piano, in that he celebrates the ever-so discreet pleasures of the text.

Copyright © 16 January 2002 John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA






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