Yuja Wang adopts an English composer

Yuja Wang adopts an English composer


norman lebrecht

September 11, 2019

The busy pianist is taking Joseph Horovitz’s Clarinet Sonatina on tour next month with Andreas Ottensamer, principal clarinet of the Berlin Philharmonic.

The composer, who is 93, is a friend of ours and I’ve always found this piece irresistible.

Nice to see Yuja and Andreas taking up work from the middle of the 20th century that conforms to no particular agenda other than being good music.



  • Jonathan says:

    I played this (piano) in grad school. Such a fun piece!

  • The View from America says:

    Good for her. For every warhorse or “faddish” classical piece, there are dozens of other worthy compositions that languish in the shadows.

  • Mark says:

    I wasn’t aware of this composer or this work, but having just listened to Ottensamer’s recording of it on YouTube, I have to agree with you – this sonatina is absolutely irresistible !

  • John Rook says:

    I love this piece. It was one of the first works I studied at the RNCM and have never forgotten it. Jack Brymer and David Lloyd played it frequently in concert. Wonderful last movement rumba.

  • batonbaton says:

    At last, a postive Yuja story on this blog. You are right, Norman, it’s a fabulous piece.

  • Michael Turner says:

    There are lots of Joseph Horowitz gems to explore for all sorts of instrumental combinations. Other of his piano works would suit Yuja Wang well.

  • Ricardo says:

    I just spent a weekend working with Judge Smith, a wonderful man who once wrote the libretto for a J. Horowitz oratorio that was premiered at the Albert Hall. http://www.judge-smith.com/wp/

  • John Borstlap says:

    Entirely agreed with Norman – it’s a brilliant piece. Horovitz is a Viennese and studied with Nadia Boulager in Paris, and this sonatina breathes the spirit of the Parisian twenties.


    • Anon says:

      My father was a pupil of Horovitz at the RCM – very kind to his students as well as being an inspiring professor.

      • John Borstlap says:

        England and the USA benefitted immensily from the émigrés bringing all their expertise and erudition, as it was a devastating culture drain for Germany and Austria. Musicologist, historian and record producer Michael Haas has done great work on the rediscovering of music by exiled composers:


        Wholeheartedly recommended: ‘The Music of Inner Return’, which relates to Horovitz’ music.

  • sam says:

    I would give my right thumb to see Andrea and Yuja in matching tight black leather pants.

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    Two great musicians.

    Two great looking people.

    One wonderful piece of music.

    What’s not to like?

  • R. Brite says:

    What a lovely piece. I’m sure they’ll do a fantastic job of it.

  • Paul B says:

    Echoes of Poulenc to my ears