Berkeley, M: Garden of Earthly Delights
This page lists all recordings of Garden of Earthly Delights, by Michael Berkeley (b.1948) on CD, SACD & download (MP3 & FLAC).
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The Berkeley Edition, Volume 3
“Such is the luxuriance of sound revealed in these remasterings, it's difficult to believe the recording date; and such is the quality of the piano playing that it's easy to understand why Chandos should have wanted to go to such trouble. There aren't so many Rachmaninov pianists who dare to throw caution to the wind to the extent that Earl Wild does in the outer movements of the First Concerto, fewer still who can keep their technical poise in the process. The improvisatory feel to the lyricism of the slow movement is no less remarkable.
Wild's panache is every bit as seductive in No 4, and the Paganini Rhapsody is a rare example of a performance faster than the composer's own – devilishly driven in the early variations and with tension maintained through the following slower ones so that the famous eighteenth can register as a release from a suffocating grip, rather than an overblown, out-of-context exercise in grandiosity.
Because of his lightness and touch Wild's tempos never seem excessive. Undoubtedly he shifts the balance from languishing pathos and overwhelming grandeur towards straightforward exuberance; but that may be no bad thing for refreshing our view of the composer. It keeps us in touch with an earlier tradition. The RPO appears to be revelling in the whole affair, in a way one wouldn't have immediately associated with Horenstein. To pick on the very few weaknesses, the very relaxed clarinet tone in the slow movement of Concerto No 2 rather misses the character, and elsewhere in this work the balance engineers rather crudely stick a microphone under the cello section's nostrils. But then the solo playing in this concerto is generally a little disappointing too, as though Wild had actually played the piece rather too often. In No 3 there are the hateful cuts to contend with, and one senses that the performance has been rather thoughtlessly modelled on the composer's own, idiosyncrasies and all. None the less, for the sake of the outstanding performances of Nos 1 and 4 and the Rhapsody, and for the unique combination of oldstyle bravura and modern sound, this issue earns a strong recommendation.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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