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Shai Wosner - Schubert Piano Sonatas

BBC RADIO 3 CD Review 24.12.2011

'(Wosner's) fascinating way of emotionally personalising the work' D840

'A truly impressive recital'

Andrew MacGregor

Gramophone, January 2012

With this recital Shai Wosner declares himself a Schubertian of unfaltering authority and character....displaying throughout a finely concentrated sense of music that achieves its vision and depth through extreme austerity. And again 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...Wosner rivets your attention at every point. He shows a high degree of charm and affection in the German Dances and the Hungarian Melody...Onyx's sound is exemplary, matching the performances in clarity and warmth.
From review by Bryce Morrison

BBC Music Magazine, December 2011
Instrumental Choice; 5stars performance/5stars recording

Poetry without words - Shai Wosner's songful Schubert piano recital wows Michael Church

Wosner heads straight to the front rank of Schubertians'

'absolutely freshly conceived'

'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...
Wosner's performance of the Sonata in D begins at an unusually hurtling pace, and proceeds playfully, rather than with the tormented aura many pianists give it;the tick-tock theme of the Rondo makes way for some beautifully understated poetry' 
Michael Church 

La Scena musicale 25.09.2011;  CD of the Week
For most of my adult life, Alfred Brendel was considered the last word in Schubert, dominating the landscape with his outstanding series on Philips Records. Others – Uchida, Andsnes, Lupu – have occupied the vacuum since his retirement in different ways. But Brendel had an unmissable authority in this deceptively simple music, an assertion that it could be played his way and no other.

Shai Wosner, an Israel-born New Yorker, is the first since Brendel to announce a similar, monolithic assurance. Listening to him in the two big sonatas of 1825, both in a major key and both capable of being played by a competent amateur, I am struck on several hearings by Wosner’s absolute conviction in the literal expression of the notes and the structural soundness of the works. The literalism can lack suggestive subtlety, as it often did in Brendel, but it is a rock on which any listener can build a lifelong understanding of Schubert.

Between the two sonatas, Wosner gives a skittish account of six German dances and a Hungarian melody, none taken too seriously. The recording, made at Wyastone Leys, yields exemplary Steinway sound. Simon Kiln produced. One of the revelations of 2011.

Norman Lebrecht