Shai Wos­ner Clas­si­cal

San Francisco Chronicle - - DATEBOOK -

One of the things great artists can do is to show you con­nec­tions you hadn’t per­ceived clearly be­fore. In com­bin­ing the mu­sic of Haydn and Ligeti on his splen­did new re­lease, pi­anist Shai Wos­ner isn’t ex­actly un­cov­er­ing some­thing en­tirely un­ex­pected — the fact that these are two of the very few com­posers for whom hu­mor is a key value makes them ob­vi­ous bed­fel­lows. But to hear their works back-to-back, played with such clar­ity and in­sight, is a reve­la­tion. Wos­ner makes his way through two of Haydn’s con­cer­tos with such brio and sly wit that I found my­self laugh­ing out loud sev­eral times, and he shapes the bawdy dis­rup­tions of Ligeti’s Piano Con­certo with dis­rup­tive force. In be­tween — like so much ic­ing be­tween the lay­ers of a cake — are Ligeti’s early “Two Capric­cios,” and a lit­tle-known jest by Haydn with the sub­ti­tle “It takes eight of you to cas­trate a boar.” How much more ir­re­sistible can you get? — Joshua Kos­man

HAYDN & LIGETI CON­CER­TOS AND CAPRIC­CIOS SHAI WOS­NER; NI­CHOLAS COLLON ONYX $18.99

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