‘Hard to remember when a pianist last gave Schubert such personal expression’

‘Hard to remember when a pianist last gave Schubert such personal expression’


norman lebrecht

December 15, 2014


It’s my five-star album of the week on sinfinimusic.com. Click here.

schubert on the beach1

This, on a boutique label, is Schubert playing at the Schnabel level.


  • Olaugh Turchev says:

    Priceless… post.

  • Augustine Rodriguez says:

    I have a subscription to Tidal (WIMP) and I just listened to this recording. It gave me goosebumps. Thank you Norman for the recommendation…. A truly sublime achievement.

  • ElizaF says:

    Hmmm. Just listened to the Andantino of D959. Nothing to write home about. There are some questionable interpretative decisions, too. Firstly, once we get back to the “theme” after the middle-section erruption, he really clips the final note of the left-hand accompaniment. This is, actually, a semi-demi quaver followed by a semi-demi quaver rest, so it is quite right to try and ‘stop’ the note before the end of the bar. But Wosner really stabs at it, so it is about all you hear. Worse, once we move from the semi-quaver accompaniment to quavers – a lovely transition, usually – he slams on the brakes and halves the tempo without any indication that Schubert ever intended this. Very wierd. Wilhem Kempff (who I just listened to for a quick comparison) just keeps sailing on at exactly the same tempo: which is precisely what is written. And it sounds far better, too.

    Well. There’s always someone new to praise. What would critics do otherwise?

  • Peter Phillips says:

    Hard to remember? Not at all. Imogen Cooper in Cardiff last February.

  • esfir ross says:

    Attended Shai Wosner Schubert recital last year in Berkeley, CA. Shai may play Schubert but he’s not Schubert specialist. Product of good PR.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      What PR? I’ve never seen a scrap of it.

      • Olaugh Turchev says:

        “Pianist Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry, musical integrity and creative insight. His performances of a broad range of repertoire, from Beethoven and Mozart to Schoenberg and Ligeti, as well as music by his contemporaries, communicate his imaginative programming and intellectual curiosity. He has appeared with major orchestras worldwide including the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony in the US, and the Barcelona Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Hamburg Symphony, LSO St. Luke’s and Staatskapelle Berlin in Europe, among others, and has worked with such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, James Conlon, Alan Gilbert, James Judd, Zubin Mehta, Peter Oundjian, Donald Runnicles, Leonard Slatkin and Yan Pascal Tortelier. Mr. Wosner made his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Salzburg, during the 250th anniversary celebrations of Mozart’s birth. As a BBC New Generation Artist in the 2007-09 seasons, he performed and recorded regularly with the various BBC orchestras, including at the BBC Proms with Donald Runnicles. Mr. Wosner is the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award—a prize he used to commission Michael Hersch’s concerto Along the Ravines, which he then performed with the Seattle Symphony and Deutsche Radio Philharmonie-Saarbrücken in its world and German premieres.”
        Und so weiter…

  • Peter says:

    Average playing, nothing special .
    Certainly not a match for real Schubertians like Kempff or Brendel.
    Why the hype ?


    Found his earlier Schubert playing distinctly clingy. This one is not that much different. You seem to be rather alone in your praise, Mr Lebrecht?

    But thanks for this enjoyable blog!