MUSIC: THE LAST OF THE SHOWMEN

PIANIST EARL WILD HARKS BACK TO THE GOLDEN AGE OF KEYBOARD VIRTUOSOS, AND AT 80 HE IS AS DAZZLING AS EVER

WHEN EARL WILD PERFORMS, the Golden Age of the keyboard suddenly reappears. Like the great romantic showmen who flourished before World War II, Wild revels in the sensuality and sheer kineticism of the piano, reminding his listeners that it is the only instrument capable of emulating both the tender nuances of vocal music and the thunderous range of the orchestra. When Wild plays, the pallid noodling that often passes for pianism these days vanishes: one hears the grand echoes of Paderewski, Rachmaninoff and Josef Hofmann.

Just turning 80, Wild is as productive and more musically rewarding than ever. This week he...

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