Earl Wild

Rhapsody in Blue

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Earl Wild's bravura performance of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue was originally released with An American in Paris, and both works received dynamic and colorful interpretations from Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. After several reissues in combination with other works, these popular 1959 recordings appear at last on SACD with the 1961 recordings of the Concerto in F, the Variations on "I Got Rhythm," and -- a pleasant surprise -- the rambunctious Cuban Overture, which was recorded in the same session but not issued on the LP or later CD editions. RCA deserves high marks for providing maximum musical value -- one wishes all the label's SACDs had as much material -- and for keeping the original analog masters in pristine condition; the tapes are ideal for DSD remastering. The multichannel reproduction has its limits, though, for only the left, center, and right channels are used to present the original three-track recordings. However, this is sufficient for most listeners, and thankfully, there is no studio trickery to create an artificial surround sound environment. Wild's performances of the Rhapsody and the Concerto sound realistic and quite clear, but the Variations are perhaps the most vivid, because of slightly closer microphone placement. In all respects, this is a fine disc in the upgraded Living Stereo series.

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