Shai Wosner’s HAYDN Piano Concertos Nos 4 & 11 LIGETI Piano Concerto

08.01.16
Shai Wosner
Gramophone

Shai Wosner, the Israeli-born pianist now based in New York, already has several well-received solo discs to his credit, encompassing repertory by Schubert, Brahms, Sciarrino and Mazzoli. For his first recording with orchestra, he collaborates with the Danish National Symphony under Nicholas Collon in an interesting combination of concertos by Haydn and Ligeti, interspersed with solo pieces.

Unlike the Mozart concertos, Haydn’s seem to present unusual obstacles when performed on modern pianos with full-size orchestras. Wosner’s performances demonstrate that solutions to these challenges are possible, even using a concert grand. Both his Haydn concertos are fresh, agile, lithe and never less than expressive.

Wosner’s plentiful embellishments derive from the organic structure of the phrase and always seem apt. As is often the case in Beethoven, Haydn’s slow movements also seem to encompass the physical heart and raison d’être of the entire work. If the eloquence achieved in both Adagios derives from Wosner’s poised rhetoric, much of their atmosphere is creditable to the tactful acumen of Collon and the Danes. Though not so distant stylistically (both concertos are thought to have been composed within four years), each speaks with a strikingly individual voice.

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