NEW RELEASE - Schubert Piano Sonatas [ONYX 4073]
"With this recital Shai Wosner declares himself a Schubertian of unfaltering authority and character. Entirely modern in style (tonally lean and sharply focused, never given to easy or sentimental options), he relishes every twist and turn in the so-called Reliquie Sonata...
"In the towering D Major Sonata, even with so many high-flyers in the catalogue (Curzon, Gilels, Brendel, Kempff, etc.) Wosner voices his own formidably assured and trenchant voice. Whether fiercely energised in the first movement's propulsion, keeping everything smartly on the move in the second-movement con moto... or locating every subtlety beneath the finale's outwardly innocent sing-a-song-of-sixpence surface, Wosner rivets your attention at every point."
Gramophone, January 2012
"[Wosner's] first CD for Onyx was a revealing pairing of works by Brahms and Schoenberg; this new one puts him straight into the front ranks of the Schubertians... this music comes across as absolutely freshly conceived, as do his evocative liner notes.
"His playing of the German Dances has muscularity and a lovely transparency, while the Hungarian Melody has exquisite songfulness.
But what strikes the listener from the first few bars of the Sonata which opens this recording... is the aristocratic grace of Wosner's tone, and his expressive shades of staccato. There is a powerful momentum underlying the way the first movement casts about like Schubert's mythical wanderer, while the ballad-like theme of the second movement - with its sweet shift from minor to major - feels like something borne upon the wind."
BBC Music Magazine, December 2011
"One of the revelations of 2011"
Norman Lebrecht, La Scena Musicale, September 2011
Works by Brahms and Schoenberg [Onyx 4055]
"At the heart of this program is a daring experiment... and the experiment is fascinating. After a while you hardly notice the segues form Brahms's searching, mystical pieces to Schoenberg's aphoristic atonal miniatures. The composers seem like soulmates from a common musical realm.
"Thought Mr. Wosner's recording gives support to Schoenberg's thesis, there is nothing academic about the performances. He plays the Schoenberg Suite with crispness and clarity... Mr. Wosner also captures the modernist daring and path-breaking wildness of the music. When the music turns restless, he plays with infectious spontaneity, adjusting tempos at will. He also gives a joyous, techincally assured account of Brahms's exhilarating Handel Variations.
In the Brahms Fantasies he brings sensitivity and elegance to the most atmospheric and elusive of the pieces.... it is stunning to hear the final juxtaposition, when Mr. Wosner moves from the agitated, tumultuous Capriccio in D Minor, which ends the Brahms set, to the last Schoenberg miniature... this is an inventively conceived and impressive recording."
The New York Times, October 2010
"It's a showcase for Wosner's variety of touch at the keyboard, and for the different musical worlds he creates.
It's more than touch, of course, that makes Wosner so impressive. His fingers are at the service of a keen musical mind and deep musical soul. He's downright thrilling in recital. So if you have the chance to see him, take it. You'll witness a young artist at the beginning of his career, who - decades down the line - will be spoken of as one of the greats."
All Things Considered, NPR, December 2010
"Mr. Wosner gave a lively and sensitive account of the demanding Schubert sonata...
Though he took a brisk tempo, his playing was lithe and articulate. The breathless energy of his conception was captivating... The second movement is marked Con Moto (With Motion), and Mr. Wosner played it that way: though he was always sensitive to passages of harmonic and expressive intensity, his ambling pace never allowed the poignancy to take over. He deftly dispatched the feisty scherzo and ended with a supple account of the dancing rondo, played with impressive lightness and clarity."
The New York Times
, September 2010
"In his overdue CSO subscription debut, Wosner showed a remarkable blend of the intellectual, physical and even devilish sides of performance that could lead to great accomplishment. Complexity clearly attracts him,
but so does its translation into apparent ease in performing. The ingredients that were in the young Rudolf Serkin are all here. Let's hear him more."
Chicago Sun-Times, February 2010
"Wosner, the elegant Israeli pianist and Daniel Barenboim protege who first came to local attention in 1999, delivered a vivid, perceptive account of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor. His clearly structured opening movement, complete with rippling passage work, mirrored the restless harmonic pull of the orchestral introduction. The Romanza's serenity, broken by a stormy G-Minor interlude, was beautifully judged as well. Completing a winning performance, Wosner played Beethoven's cadenza to the first movement and his own stylish cadenza to the Rondo finale.
Chicago Tribune, February 2010
"In the first movement's big piano solo [Concerto No. 22 K. 482] - meant by Mozart to be improvised by the pianist - guest soloist Shai Wosner slipped in a bit of Mozart's opera "The Marriage of Figaro." Maybe there was some power of suggestion in that, because the whole performance had a tinge of the theater's liveliness. It came through in the first movement's ring and vitality, the second movement's brooding lyricism and the finale's dash. Wosner filled the piano part with light and shade that made everything vivid."
The Charlotte Observer, March 2010
"Mozart's poised ambiguity was from another world... the changing moods of the second movement Romance, with added decoration by the soloist, were eloquently sustained, and Wosner's own final movement cadenza was lively and intelligent."
The Guardian, August 2009
"The pianist Shai Wosner was introduced to the Prommers in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor. Runnicles set a nicely edgy pace for his slimmed down band, nudging every nerve of Mozart's uneasy and unsettled opening. Wosner picked up the inner tension, playing as a miniaturist and with a silvery clarity."
The Times, August 2009
"Runnicles brought out the operatic menace as well as the ineffable sadness [of Mozart's D Minor Concerto K. 466], while soloist Shai Wosner, at the beginning of his career, showed that he is already his own man in terms of phrasing, emphasis and occasional decoration."
The Evening Standard (London), August 2009
"... it was refreshing to hear the bare cantilena of the Romanze embellished so instinctively, as well as the pianist's own fiery cadenza in the Finale."
MusicalCriticism.com, August 2009
“Wosner proved the star of the evening as solo protagonist in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21….Wosner's quicksilver articulation was a pleasure throughout, and he brought a youthful vivacity perfectly suited to this most joyous of Mozart keyboard concertos. In the famous Andante, Wosner's poise and refinement were on the same level as the [Cleveland Orchestra]'s tonal elegance, which is saying a lot. The soloist also brought a subtle, slightly quirky element with some steep dynamic drops and hair-trigger color changes. Likewise his own pseudo-Rococo cadenzas stayed within Classical parameters -- just -- while adding a smart, subversive quality to his witty, delightful performance.”
Miami Herald, March 2008
“The unassuming pianist gave a winning performance of the monster hit [Grieg Piano Concerto], with each movement more engaging than the one before. He offered tasteful drama in the thundering first-movement cadenza, understated lyricism in the slow movement and nimbly dancing runs in the finale.”
The Salt Lake Tribune, February 2008