Here's where it gets serious – free classical download #8

One of the most thought-provoking records of the year was a combination on the Onyx label, by the Israeli-born pianist Shai Wosner, of the late Fantasies, op 116, by Johannes Brahms with the Six Little Piano Pieces, op 19, by Arnold Schoenberg. 

This is no mismatch of old reactionary with bold revolutionary. On the contrary, taking the two in conjunction, as this dowload does, demonstrates just how progressive Brahms was in his tonality, and how conservative Schoenberg could be. I have always loved the two sets, separate and distinct. To hear them together is a great treat. 
Click here for your free download:

Brahms/Schoenberg: 7 Fantasien op.116/6 kleine Klavierstücke op.19
Shai Wosner

(Schoenberg, by his wife’s lover, Richard Gerstl)

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  • This combination is serious…seriously logical and seriously good! It brings me back to a college class in art song, where we were hearing “Pierrot Lunaire” after all of the Romantic song composers. When the professor asked for comments, I startled her a bit by saying, “This is not as ‘new’ as you might think. Between the extension of the harmonic language and the use of word-painting, I think this could be seen as a logical extension of what we heard from the Romantic songwriters.” After a moment’s thought, the professor agreed that I had a point. Although this is instrumental, putting the Brahms and the Schoenberg next to each other shows what I’ve thought for over three decades, which is that they’re not from two entirely different worlds. Shai Wosner obviously gets this, too, if he has both composers on this CD; his playing is beautiful and highlights the similarities between the two composers. Thanks, Norman, for this lovely and thought-provoking combination!

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