DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | "How Will I Ever Find ‘Impromptu’ Again"?

By Norman Lebrecht on May 12, 2017

Impromptu – Beethoven, Chopin, Dvoak, Gershwin, Ives, Liszt & Schubert | Shai Wosner
Impromptu – Beethoven, Chopin, Dvoak, Gershwin, Ives, Liszt & Schubert | Shai Wosner

Impromptu (Onyx)

★★★★ (out of five)

The trouble with keeping records is that library science has yet to devise a method of telling you where any piece of music will be just when you really need it. The Schumann piano concerto, for instance. If I look under Schumann, I find two versions. But then there are four more under Grieg — that’s how the record industry likes to pair them up — and heaven knows how many more in box sets of the lifetime works of individual great pianists. 

Online, it’s no easier, since the same recording will crop up a dozen times under different covers or catalogue numbers and you can waste a whole morning trying to isolate that one half-recollected Clifford Curzon recording of coruscating brilliance. Where the hell is it? (Update: it’s under Franck).

This is what makes Shai Wosner’s new release so frustrating. A fabulous pianist, incapable of touching an ugly note, Wosner interleaves miniatures of Schubert with matching — at times, surprising — snips by Dvorak, Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, Gershwin and Charles Ives. I enjoyed the record first time round. I revelled in the connections, especially Ives, on second hearing. But now I am poleaxed by the question of where to put this record once it leaves my desk.

Seriously, it’s a problem. How will I ever find ‘Impromptu’ again when I need it to compare with some other release? If you have a solution, do let me know.

For the purpose of this review, I very much appreciate what Wosner is doing, drawing out parallel strands of thought between composers of very different character. It is the best background music I have heard all year — like classical radio without the interminable blether, and it makes some mindless chores go faster. Maybe I should use it to start a ‘background music’ category on my groaning shelves? Help me out, here.

Impromptu (Onyx) is available at Amazon.ca and iTunes.

For more weekly reviews by Norman Lebrecht, see HERE.

Visit Slipped Disc HERE.

#LUDWIGVAN

Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

YEAR IN REVIEW | Classical Music: Discovering 2021’s Lesser Known Gems

By Anya Wassenberg on December 31, 2021

Classical music fans can take comfort in a string of notable recordings released in 2021.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Crossing The Invisible Borders Between Kodály, Dvořák and Janáček

By Norman Lebrecht on January 7, 2022

British musicians Laura van der Heijden and Jâms Colemanhave cross the invisible border between the Czechs and Hungarians on this recording.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Weinberg Is A Light In the Darkness

By Norman Lebrecht on January 14, 2022

At the turn of the century, there was hardly any Weinberg to be found on record; two decades on, there is so much Weinberg about it is hard to advise a new listener where to begin.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.