“Once in a very great while we at Hearts of Space have the experience of hearing a tape someone sent us and being totally blown away. Such was the case with Steven Schoenberg.
This young New England pianist is an artist of brilliance, power, lyricism, and subtlety. He has been compared—erroneously, he feels—to Keith Jarrett (for his improvisational genius) and George Winston (for his melodic skill). But he is even broader—you can hear Mozart and Gershwin, Joplin and Rachmaninoff — within a few phrases Schoenberg moves effortlessly among styles, spanning centuries and traditions. Pianoworks is his first album, 11 pieces recorded in Amherst, MA over two days in December 1983.
Schoenberg is a master improviser, with a gift for deftly interlocking melodies, magically transmuted themes, sudden but smooth shifts in tempo and emotion—all polished, sophisticated, impeccable. “To perfect improvisation,” he says, “is to have the listener feel that the piece is composed.”
Though his technical skill is at times breathtaking, it is the addition of a deep and authentic heart quality, and his ability to project emotions, that make his work irresistible. On Pianoworks, Romance is one of the most tender pieces of music we’ve ever heard. Prayer has not only simple loveliness but a kind of gentle joy.
By no means is all of his album soft and quiet—it ranges from the blues and ragtime to passionate Romanticism, but his music is so good we simply have to bend our definitions of what we offer in this “Spacemusic” catalog. This is a major artist.
At the end of Pianoworks the audience explodes into applause. We bet you’ll do the same.”
Stephen Hill, Hearts of Space