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(Soundbite of Shai Wosner piano performance)

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

Thats Shai Wosner on the piano.

(Soundbite of piano)

Wosner has been wowing concertgoers for a while. And now he's released his first solo recording. It's called "Shai Wosner: Brahms and Schoenberg."

Music Critic Tom Manoff has been waiting for this, ever since he heard Wosner in recital.

(Soundbite of piano)

TOM MANOFF: The first thing I noted about Shai Wosner on stage was that he wasn't a swooner. Although music can have motion that seems to sway, some performers just overdo their body movement, often as part of showmanship. But Wosner focuses the energy of his body directly onto the keys, which helps him produce a deeply rich and penetrating sound, without sacrificing nuance, as in this intermezzo by Brahms.

(Soundbite of music, "Intermezzo Op. 116 no.3")

MANOFF: Brahms' piano writing can be particularly difficult because his musical structures are often dense. Some pianists play all the notes, but the sound can come out muddy. But Wosner brings transparency to dense passages, revealing their intricacies while maintaining the overall impact of Brahms' characteristically thick textures.

(Soundbite of music)

MANOFF: "Brahms' Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel" is a 19-minute work and one of the main pieces on this recording. I have to admit that I've never really liked the piece until I heard this performance. It's a showcase for Wosner's variety of touch at the keyboard and the different musical worlds he can create.

(Soundbite of music)

MANOFF: And here's a completely different musical world.

(Soundbite of music)

MANOFF: It's more than touch, of course, that makes Shai Wosner so impressive. His fingers are at the service of a keen musical mind and a deep musical soul. He's downright thrilling in recital.

So if you have the chance to see him, take it. You'll witness a young artist at the beginning of his career, who, decades down the line, will be spoken of as one of the greats.

(Soundbite of music)

SIEGEL: Our critic is Tom Manoff. The CD is "Shai Wosner: Brahms and Schoenberg."

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