Ingolf Wunder


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Following his all-Chopin debut on Deutsche Grammophon, Austrian pianist Ingolf Wunder offers a program of considerable variety for his second album, which spans 300 years of western music history and shows the breadth of his repertoire. Wunder is a gifted musician whose refinement and subtlety are apparent in all aspects of his playing, and are in every way equal to his virtuosity and intensity, so this CD is as much a display of artistry as it is of technique. Wunder's poetic treatment of Scarlatti, Mozart, Chopin, and Debussy is wonderfully balanced by his fiery handling of Liszt, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, and Horowitz, and his delicate playing of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumble Bee and Moszkowski's Étincelles reveals a fine blending of control and energy. But Wunder is not all seriousness. His closing showpiece, a rousing arrangement of John Williams' Main Title from Star Wars, is fun and engaging, not merely because it's a wink to popular culture, but also because it's a nod to the showy transcriptions of Liszt, cleverly reviving a 19th century tradition for today's listeners. Deutsche Grammophon's reproduction is big and spacious, with clear and close-up sound to capture Wunder's nuances but providing enough roominess to let him stretch out.

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