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Impromptu —Shai Wosner, piano (Onyx 4172)

Paul Henerlau’s enthusiastic review of this new disc includes these lines: “As an introduction to his recording Impromptu, Shai Wosner invites us to consider what would happen “if we got together Schubert, Chopin, Ives, Liszt, Dvorak, Gershwin and Beethoven for a posthumous jam session.”  My hope would be that Chopin and Schubert would play and the rest would listen, especially if it were late at night…Shai Wosner has received accolades for his Schubert. Taking all four [D 935] impromptus together, I can see why.  He has a sure command of the flow of these pieces, an immaculate tone favoring the quiet, and an articulation that is in a class by itself…Dvorak’s Impromptu in D minor follows, and we hope for a dreamy lyric like the adagio from the Dumky Trio. Instead, we get something very much like a Landler or Mazurka…We find ourselves at a key moment in musical history with the Gershwin Impromptu in Two Keys, the bridge from Ravel to Jazz. The languid theme plays against new harmonic notions and modulations that recall Schubert on one hand but, also, point ahead to Ellington and Billy Strayhorn…Finally, Chopin arrives with the Impromptu in A flat Op. 29, the first of three Chopin pieces, a self-enclosed world, aesthetically assured and immediately on the level with the famous Schubert pieces. There is nothing but musical perfection here, but the later two works, Op. 36 in F-Sharp and the G flat Op. 51 piece, are even more glorious. It is obvious to me that Shai Wosner could become one of the greatest Chopin exponents. And it is at this point of pure sonic ravishment that we stop to admire the outstanding sound quality of the instrument perfectly captured by the inspired technicians at ONYX…This is a great recital and introduction to a major piano talent. It comes highly recommended.”