#TGIF! How productive were you today? Probably not as productive as Schubert, who wrote 8 songs during one October day in 1815 (and over 20,000 bars over the course of the full year!). Don’t miss Shai’s performance of a selection of Impromptus by Schubert during the Peoples' Symphony Concerts recital tomorrow. Some tickets still available in the link below: https://www.pscny.org/shaiwosner
Only two more days until Shai’s concert this weekend (Tix: https://www.pscny.org/shaiwosner)! We’re looking forward to hearing “Impromptu in Two Keys” by Gershwin. The multitalented composer painted this portrait of Schoenberg, a contemporary and close confidante. When Gershwin asked Schoenberg for composition lessons, he refused, saying “I would only make you a bad Schoenberg, and you’re such a good Gershwin already.”
Did you know that Dvořák enjoyed trainspotting? "I’d give all my symphonies if I could have invented the locomotive!" he once said. His father was also a man of many interests, balancing positions as a professional zither player, innkeeper, and butcher. What are Shai’s interests, you ask? This weekend he’ll be sticking to piano. Hear him play Dvořák’s Impromptu in D minor at the Peoples' Symphony Concerts season-opener.(https://www.pscny.org/shaiwosner)
It’s football season! To get into the spirit of the game, listen to “Yale-Princeton Football Game”, written in 1898 by Charles Ives, who played for the varsity football team while he was at Yale University. The composer’s Improvisations I and III will be performed by Shai on Saturday at the Peoples' Symphony Concerts season-opener (https://www.pscny.org/shaiwosner). “Yale-Princeton Football Game”
During his upcoming recital at Washington Irving High School (opening the Peoples' Symphony Concerts season), Shai will be performing Chopin's Impromptu Op. 29. Played in this video, which was filmed at Shai's apartment in New York, is a different Impromptu (Op. 36); while more introspective, its melody shares the same delicate lyricism at Op. 29. Chopin wrote these pieces for the grand salon setting of the Parisian elites in the 19th Century. The French city was a hub of distinguished figures in which Chopin met other artistic contemporaries, such as the writer George Sand, with whom he carried on a relationship for ten years.
There is hardly a piece of music more famous with a time signature more mysterious, if not outright obscure.
The 'double cut-time' indication of Schubert's Impromptu in G-flat D899 may seem like a typo but in truth it is actually a beautiful example of how 'technical' signs can in fact convey the poetry of the music when employed by a truly great composer.
Is it a fast piece? Cut-time (or 'alla breve') means you count less beats per bar so essentially you let the music 'glide' over more smoothly implying a certain floating - and quicker, less held-back - quality. Two of those (!) in the same bar are very rare and hark back to ancient time signature of medieval music.
Is it slow? After all, there is an Andante staring at you in large fonts from the page...
Or maybe it is another example of that sublime mindset which no other composer ever captured quite the same way, in which things seem to flow and yet stand still all at the same time, to occur in time and yet suggest a certain timelessness, to be at once intimate and all-encompassing, humble yet awe-inspiring.
What's more Schubertian than that?
In three weeks, on Oct. 14, Shai will be performing selections from his "Impromptu" CD at Washington Irving High School. To start the countdown for the recital, which opens the Peoples' Symphony Concerts season, listen to his recording of "Impromptu in Two Keys" by George Gershwin, who was born on this day in 1898.
9/11/2017The New York Times' 2017 Season Preview, which came out yesterday, featured two of Shai's upcoming engagements: his collaboration with Peoples' Symphony Concerts on Oct. 14 and his series at the 92nd Street Y next spring.
Some more pictures from Sunday's concert with Martha Argerich in Jerusalem.
With the Singapore Symphony Orchestra last week, in addition to performing Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto "with great clarity and articulation" (The Straits Times), Shai also dabbled in a bit of Debussy...
Coming off a "sizzling" Beethoven performance in La Jolla with Jennifer Koh, Shai now takes the composer's "Emperor" Concerto across the Pacific to Singapore, where he performs with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. The concert is tomorrow night, and Kahchun Wong conducts.
"Wosner’s trills were marvelously executed, every single note articulated in precise rhythm. However, these were no gears purring away, but rather a clockwork bird’s song magically imbued with life. The variations gave Wosner the opportunity to display a gorgeous cantabile tone, a fine partner to Koh’s silky caress of the theme" (The San Diego Union-Tribune in "Jennifer Koh, Shai Wosner deliver sizzling #SummerFest performance").
If you happen to be out west, don't miss Shai and Jennifer Koh performing Beethoven's Violin Sonatas No. 1, 2, & 9 ("Kreutzer") this evening at La Jolla Music Society's #SummerFest!
8/11/2017The San Diego Union-Tribune writes: "[Jennifer Koh] and her musical partner, pianist Shai Wosner, are particularly well-suited to perform Beethoven’s sonatas. They will play three Wednesday at UC San Diego's Conrad Prebys Concert Hall [Aug. 16]." Koh adds: "Shai and I prepared for two years for the ‘Bridge to Beethoven’ concerts, and we’ve been touring with it for two more years. So we feel in sync playing the sonatas."
If you'll be in Vermont, catch Shai at Marlboro Music on Friday and Saturday, performing in Mahler's "Songs of a Wayfarer" (arr. Schoenberg) and Fauré's Piano Quartet in C Minor, Op. 15.
Next week, Shai is in La Jolla with Jennifer Koh for a concert of three Beethoven violin sonatas, building on their Bridge to Beethoven series launched in 2015. Yet, Shai's engagement with these works dates back years prior and includes this performance of the "Spring Sonata" with Alina Pogostkina at the 2013 Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyON1TBinDg
"You know there's a wonderful term in French when they say a premiere of a piece, they say creation," says Shai on his interview with Julie Amacher on Classical Minnesota Public Radio. He continues, "They say it was created, you know on such and such day. And I think I think that's relevant for every time the piece is played you're creating it. And I think the fact that it's not the same every time is what makes it so exciting."
Timothy Judd highlights Shai's recent recording, and two Chopin impromptus in particular, on The Listeners' Club: "Each offers its own unique, unfolding drama which seems to transport us, magically, to a different world- and all within a space of time barely exceeding five minutes. In this music, the piano seems to awaken and transform from inanimate ivory into an array of conversing voices."
This Saturday, July 29th at 8pm Shai will perform a program of Schubert, a continuation of his recital series this season, "Schubert: The Great Sonatas" at the Doctorow Center for the Arts with the Catskill Mountain Foundation in Hunter, NY. Don't miss it!
Impromptu – Piano Pieces by Beethoven, Chopin, Dvořák, Gershwin, Ives, Liszt and Schubert. classicalear.co.uk
Looking forward to this week at the Steans Institute!
Shai joined Chris Johnson last week on KMFA, Classical 89.5 'Rideshare' for a conversation about his latest album "Impromptu." How do you create a framework to present seven different composers with varying styles into a cohesive album? Find out by listening here!
Have you listened to #Impromptu yet? Shai's latest album is a journey through impromptus (and a fantasy) by 7 composers, or as he describes it, "a posthumous jam session." Over the next few weeks, stay tuned and check back for links to tracks, special videos from the album, and Shai's commentary about these wild, intimate, witty, poetic, quirky, and gorgeous pieces!
"This CD is bewitching," says Michael Church in BBC Music Magazine this month. "By marshalling [these impromptus] together Wosner says something interesting about them: each may be a social misfit in normal company, but here can be seen as belonging to a clearly defined genre."