Earl Wild died two weeks ago, at the age of 94. For those not in the know, he was a tremendously exciting and technically astounding pianist, right to the end. His LP/CD The Demonic Liszt is readily available in box sets, on its own , eBay etc, and is one of the most awesome recitals of piano music ever recorded. Try Réminiscences de Robert le diable: Valse infernale to hear what I mean.
Hypervirtuosity is much neglected as a virtue these days, with to my mind, way too much emphasis on competent bores like Murray Perahia and Richard Goode. Thankfully there are still enough musicians with personality and recording contracts, like Mikhail Pletnev or Marc-Andre Hamelin to keep things going, as well as those sporadic gems like Arnaldo Cohen.
Which brings us to Yuja Wang, born when Earl was a mere 72. She tackled a pretty formidable repertoire on her debut CD, and tacked on her take of Arcadi Volodos’ absurdly brilliant transcription of Mozart’s Rondo Alla Turca for the iTunes album, a bargain, and a version which is as good as Volodos’ own.
Thanks to YouTube you can catch it in its full glory. It’s from The House of Flying Fingers. You can see why.