Gramophone - April 2010 - Written by Laurence Vittes

Quietly brilliant Schumann-playing from a pianist in the Schnabel tradition

Playing a demanding Schumann recital in front of a small audience in an unprepossessing setting, dressed in a modest suit with no pretense in his manner, Jerome Rose is a musician who simply wants to be heard. His résumé tells of abundant virtuosity, of competitions won and of other, deeper musical adventures. His repertoire is a personal take on the late-Romantic core repertoire Artur Schnabel left behind. He must have an ambivalent relationship with fame. He performs regularly, including masterclasses, at universities around the world, an international globe-trotting musical life.

Rose was mentored by Schnabel student Leonard Shure inheriting an apparent precept that nothing be thrown down onto the keyboard that does not come freshly imagined, directly from the heart. It was one of the first classical music “methods”. He starts slowly, musically mumbling a bit like a method pianist would, and when “Coquette” rouses him and he finds his groove it’s like you’ve heard it happening for the first time.

Rose also shares Schumann’s own love for the piano. So, when the "Davidsbündler" march brings Carnaval to its close, the piano has taken over in physical exultation; if there’s anything like humanity in his playing, it’s only of the most abstract variety. The result is very deep.

On a bonus track, Rose speaks briefly about Schumann. “I’m attracted by the vastness of his personality,” he says, “the somewhat neurotic nature of the man, and that he tried so hard to reach transcendental moments.”

The pianist’s warm sound coupled to the Yamaha X35 he is playing are rewarded with excellent piano sound in an intimate acoustic environment that benefits exponentially from the volume you can afford to apply. The camerawork is dignified and unobtrusive, focusing mainly on documenting Rose’s common-sense fingerwork and taking an occasional wondering look at his mostly impassive physiognomy.


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