Piano Sonata No.1 in F minor, Op 2/1
Piano Sonata No.6 in F, Op.10/2
Piano Sonata No.18 in E flat, Op.31/3
Shai Wosner (piano)
Reviewed by: Nick Breckenfield
Reviewed: 27 October, 2011
Venue: Jerwood Hall, LSO St Luke’s, London
Wosner has an appealing manner at the keyboard, revelling in Beethoven’s sudden fortes (in the first movement of the Opus 10 example, right-hand crossing left to plunge deep at the end of the exposition, and in the wonder that is the scherzo). He also has a nice line in pouncing cat-like on final cadences. He was light on his fingers in the difficulties Beethoven throws at a player, wilfully playful in the rollicking contrapuntalisms of Opus 10’s finale, with only a little rhythmic stiffness in the opening movement of the third Opus 31 sonata.
After the delicacy of the Mozartean F minor sonata (dedicated to Haydn), humour instilled these performances (miraculously, perhaps, given the year of 1802, saw Beethoven’s crisis over his encroaching deafness), at-one with Beethoven’s with and exploited brilliantly. Indeed it was this final sonata that outshone all before it, a tour de force of a performance, acutely aware both of Beethoven’s overall scheme and the inner detail, thankfully obliterating a couple of chiming digital watches announcing 2 o’clock, before a exhilaratingly thunderous finale.