Impromptu – Piano Pieces by Beethoven, Chopin, Dvořák, Gershwin, Ives, Liszt and Schubert

Reviewed on Wed 05 Jul, 2017

Everything is played with a combination of brilliance and focused personality, where rubato is distinctive but never overdone, and where you feel the pianist has truly entered the zone of each piece.

Great programme planning here, the sort that as a radio presenter I would have counted as a feather in my cap. Impromptus of sundry kinds provide Shai Wosner’s theme, Schubert’s four D 935 and Chopin’s three Impromptus (excluding the Fantaisie-impromptu) popping up as much-loved markers along the way. All are played with a combination of brilliance and focused personality, where rubato is distinctive but never overdone, and where you feel the pianist has truly entered the zone of each piece. Two single-minute Charles Ives Improvisations crop up like tiny questions near each end of the programme, and I was glad to see Beethoven’s madcap Fantasy in G, Op 77 – like a zany imagined improvisation – caught rioting between a pair of repertory perennials. Wosner relishes the moment, as he does in rewarding and relatively unfamiliar pieces by Dvořák, Gershwin and Liszt. Excellent sound serves as icing on a significantly nourishing cake.
–Rob Cowan