International Piano - July/August 2021 - Written by Jerome Rose
It is quite ironic that this question plagues everyone that has practiced the piano, both amateur and professional alike, with very little that has actually been written to answer this question. Yes, there are biographers and reviewers galore that write about specific performances, recordings, and videos, but few that actually attempt to penetrate the essence of the question.
In fact, the question itself is somewhat impossible to answer; and no simple listing of the elements of a performance can capture what constitutes greatness. It starts in music with a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph, a movement, a piece, a performance, and inevitably morphs into a concert season and a lifetime. The aspiration that exists in any true artist is the desire to achieve the moment or moments of synthesis in performance that create a transcendental meaning or response; some moment of execution of “Mind, Body & Spirit” that the Romantics understood so well.
It all starts with talent, training, exposure, culture, history and experience. There is also the necessity within the individual at an early age to aspire to some greater height that gives meaning to their work. So much depends on parents and teachers to instill in the child these values. The basic character of the creative youth is truly what needs to be nurtured to carry this formidable development through to a positive end. Obviously, there can be a great cost to everyone involved in carrying these responsibilities through a lifetime where so many fail.
Every accomplished pianist knows the drudgery of exercise, self-criticism, trial and error, the inconsistencies of performance and audience response and the daily grind of maintaining a high professional standard. Every pianist in the world knows this. As well, every pianist in the world is constantly striving for “something more”.
The difficulty is knowing what that “something more” is. That is why I ask students, “what constitutes a great pianist”? Surprisingly few have thought about this or can reasonably answer the question in a meaningful way. But nevertheless, this question needs to be asked in order to define that which the student is striving to achieve. Truly, if there is any guide from all the great historical pianists, there has to be something in common with all of them.
I would say, in the most simple terms, that what they all have in common is that eternal commitment to art and to the life of the artist. It is that dedication to the higher ideal and the higher purpose in their life that we are witness to in their work. The unwillingness to compromise and the complete willingness to dedicate their lives to their art. This dedication allows their inner life and intellectual life to continue to grow and flourish. It is a basic philosophy, within their reality, which includes countless hours of work and their almost religious commitment to their art.
One of my personal sayings that I truly feel in performance is that “the tones have to reverberate off the membrane of your soul”. The sense of message has to be there at all times. Also, that sense of purpose that engages an audience and brings them into the aural sensory world of the performer: that ability to communicate where the interpretation of the music is so profound that, even if one disagrees, you are swept up in the intensity of the performance supported by the collective energy of the audience. There is such conviction within the performance that you cannot be distracted or look away.
Such words as charisma, communication, sound, intensity all lead to a transcendental experience – a place in time that an audience member will never forget. I believe that this is “what constitutes a great pianist”.
It is not a matter of reputation, audience kudos or even publicity. It is what happens on stage that makes you remember that moment in the years to come. The pianist creating these transcendental moments can only be measured through the totality of a night, a season or a lifetime. Very few artists have been able to sustain a career on this level. Quite simply, we need to be and can only be grateful for the moment.
If the pianist succeeds in creating this lasting moment, he or she is truly, “ A Great Pianist”.
New York Classical Review - July 16 2018 - Written by David Wright
Jerome Rose opened the International Keyboard Institute and Festival Sunday night at Hunter College.
It was time to put away the plaster busts of Beethoven, Schumann and Liszt Sunday night at Hunter College’s Kaye Playhouse, as pianist Jerome Rose demonstrated what loose cannons those canonical composers really were.
How better to kick off the 20th annual International Keyboard Institute and Festival—two intense weeks of recitals, master classes and lectures about the piano—than with a program of piano pieces that dared all in their day, and still challenge the understanding of performer and listener alike?
Rose, the festival’s founder and director, sailed with abandon into the opening Vivace, ma non troppo of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109. The forward momentum was indeed almost troppo, but in spite of that the pianist showed a keen sense of every flit and twist in this volatile music.
In contrast, the ensuing Prestissimo, a biting parody of the sonata’s tender opening theme, seems to call for a mercilessly strict tempo. On Sunday, the spurts and fluctuations of the Vivace seemed to bleed over into it, causing a somewhat blurry performance.
There were no such issues, however, with the great closing movement, which packs a world of expression into its noble theme and just six variations. In this performance, one wished the theme would sing out a bit more, but the variations were finely characterized, from the ornate soprano aria of No. 1 to the blossoming of ecstatic trills in No. 6.
Rose’s broad tonal palette in the variations, from brilliant to mellow to sturdy, served to remind listeners, as this piano festival got under way, how essential touch and tone are to playing the instrument at the highest level.
For volatility, even Beethoven’s Op. 109 takes a back seat to Schumann’s Humoreske in B-flat major, Op. 20. The composer, whose beloved piano cycles such as Papillions and Carnaval can seem like the purest expression of ADHD in music, outdid himself in this piece, seemingly flinging heterogeneous bits of music together in no discernable order. If Schumann hadn’t already used the title “Traumes Wirren” (Dream Confusions) for an earlier piece, it would have suited this one perfectly.
Rose’s response to Schumann’s interpretive challenge was similar to what he did in the Beethoven: press ahead. At the outset, the tempo really was troppo, and Schumann’s brief, bright ideas sped by as if seen from a bullet train. As the piece unfolded, however, the pianist found the right combination of momentum and characterization, and the mood swings—the mingled “humors”—of the Humoreske could be better appreciated.
From the muffled drums of its opening to the exhaustion of passion at its close, Liszt’s “Funérailles” is such a compelling drama that one forgets that it, too, is composed of extremely heterogeneous materials: a wailing dirge, a sensuous love theme, a thrilling battle scene, all tumbling after each other in a tragic procession.
On Sunday, Rose needed no sped-up tempos to engage the listener, relying instead on sonorous crescendo in the funeral march, glowing tone in the erotic interludes, and an edge-of-the-seat rush of octaves as his hero galloped into the fray.
Such a masterpiece, so stirringly delivered, was bound to cast a shadow on its two more lyrical mates from the collection Harmonies poétiques et religieuses. At least “Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude,” which preceded “Funérailles” on this program, was made of first-rate materials, attractively set. Rose laid it out beautifully, his rubato growing out of the theme’s long expressive arc, the chords big and round, the filigree liquid.
“Cantique d’amour” (Hymn of Love), the closing piece in both Liszt’s collection and Sunday’s program, was yet another Lisztian effort to bridge the sacred and the profane, in the prolix, frothy style to which this composer sometimes resorted when inspiration flagged. It at least brought Sunday’s recital in for a safe, soft landing.
Not content to leave it there, Rose returned with a brilliant encore, Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 1 in C-sharp minor, delivered with plenty of soul in the mournful recitative and fire in the frenzied conclusion.
Classical Music Guide - July 15 2018 - Written by Donald Isler
Jerome Rose - IKIF
20th International Keyboard Institute and Festival at Hunter College
July 15th, 2018
Beethoven: Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109
Schumann: Humoreske in B-Flat Major, Op. 20
Harmonies poétiques et religieuses
Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude
Yes, it's that time of summer, meaning the beginning of the latter half of July, when lovers of the piano and its repertoire flock to Hunter College for the International Keyboard Institute and Festival. It offers two weeks of recitals (often two a day) presented by exceptional pianists of all ages, plus classes, master classes, lectures, and a competition.
The founder of the Festival, now beginning its 20th season, is the pianist Jerome Rose, who, traditionally, gives the opening night recital. The winner of the 1961 Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition, and a student of Rudolf Serkin and Leonard Shure, Mr. Rose has had a long and impressive career as an artist and teacher, and is as busy as ever. Next month he will celebrate his 80th birthday. He is a very serious musician (which also came across in what he told me during an interview last year) and he always plays big, demanding programs.
The first movement of Beethoven's Op. 109 was beautifully played, alternately thoughtful and turbulent. The second movement was appropriately wild. In the third movement there was a good intensity in the first variation, a nice interplay of the hands in the second, a lovely rolling-along sensation in the fourth variation, and excellent voicing of the melody against the trills in the sixth.
The Humoreske of Schumann is quite an odd, though fascinating major work. Its many peculiarities include at least one brilliant "false ending" which produced applause from the audience at the wrong time! The first allegro section in B-Flat Major was performed in a lively manner, with beautiful phrasing. The D Minor section was dramatic, the quasi-fugato Intermezzo section was brilliant, and a later section, where the melody is played in octaves, was deeply felt.
Amidst a lot of very fine playing in the Beethoven and Schumann there was some rushing and a few memory lapses. But by the second half of the program Mr. Rose was at the top of his game. Indeed, though this should not be a surprise, considering his reputation as a Liszt player, the all-Liszt second half of the program was marvelous!
The Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude was lush and lovely, though powerful. Mr. Rose handled the complicated arpeggiation and ornamentation with ease. In the Funérailles he produced a huge sound, and his octaves were those of a young virtuoso! In Cantique d'amour there is a melody with an accompaniment "floating" around it, and later an ardent melody punctuated by brilliant octaves. I couldn't imagine this played any better!
Mr. Rose played one encore, the Thirteenth Hungarian Rhapsody of Liszt. The "quasi-gypsy mode" was exactly right, and in the end he pulled out all the stops. Very exciting, indeed!
The Festival is off to a good start!
American Record Guide - November/December 2017 - Written by James Harrington
Where, in the heat of July in New York, could you hear Vladimir Feltsman take you on a ride with Baba-Yaga to the Great Gate of Kiev for only $20? Now in its 19th year, the International Keyboard Institute and Festival (IKIF) presented two weeks of masterclasses, lectures, and concerts by renowned pianists and students at Hunter College. Founded and directed by pianist Jerome Rose and Festival Director Julie Kedersha (Rose’s wife), the institute draws students from all over the world to study and compete. New York area audiences who appreciate world class pianists in recital come every night for the bargain price of $20 to the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse. During the day these same pianists give masterclasses that are open to the public and all the students, usually in Hunter’s Lang Concert Hall. A two-week pass that covers every event is only $200.
It is the dual nature of this event that sets it apart from other festivals or summer educational programs. The recitals are performed with all the skill expected across town at Carnegie, Alice Tully, Avery Fisher, and Merkin Halls. I have reviewed CDs in ARG by at least eight of this year’s pianists, and all concert performances were at an exceptionally high level. Nearly 100 students from all over the world came for the two weeks; each had several piano lessons a week with the distinguished faculty, and they got to attend all of the evening concerts. They have the option to compete for scholarships, with the winner invited back for a main stage recital next year.
The list of pianists who have performed and taught at IKIF over the past 19 years reads like a who’s who in the piano world: Wild, Entremont, Sandor, Janis, De Larrocha, Ts’ong, Hamelin, Goode, Pressler, Keene, Laredo, Oppens, Frank, Katsaris, Bavouzet, Howard, and of course, Rose himself. Other pianists who have records regularly reviewed in ARG are also IKIF performers: Kobrin, Kern, Swann, Suk, Wang, Li, Bax, Burleson, Demidenko, Kristenko, Gavryluk, Yakushev, and Baczewska. Some have been performing at the festival for 15 or more years, and there is a growing number of home-grown artists and teachers. In the case of Baczewska, now one of the brightest and best of IKIF’s performer-teachers, she began as a student 19 years ago and was a competition winner.
At pre-concert talks, program notes are discussed and performers are interviewed. Two or three of the performers gather at a small table stage right between 7 and 7:15 each evening for at least half an hour. One of the participants is the scheduled pianist for the following evening’s recital, which works as wonderful advertisement for both the artist and the program. There is a discussion of both the current and next evening’s programs, often with examples on the piano and the opportunity to ask questions.
Rose gave the opening concert on a Sunday evening, as he has done each of the past seasons. He is present for every event over the next two weeks. Indefatigable even at 79, his gregarious personality coupled with a still impressive big romantic piano style and over 50 years as a teacher make it easy to understand his success with IKIF. I was reminded of learning a lot of Liszt repertoire back in the 1970s from his Vox Box recordings, and then attending his all-Liszt recital back in 1986 on Liszt’s 175th birthday at Alice Tully Hall. This year he played Beethoven’s Sonata No. 18, Schumann’s Fantasy Pieces Op. 12, and Liszt’s Sonata—a demanding program for someone half his age. I remember Liszt’s Sonata as the high point of his recital 31 years ago, as it was again in July. There is so much in this piece that can distract the pianist’s overall conception, but Rose is a master with Liszt’s music, and I heard all the motivic transformations clearly. Yet the work moved right along, keeping my attention so well that all of a sudden we were at the fugue, then the presto octaves, and then the final heavenly pages. He offered no encore; only his heartfelt thanks to the audience for their attendance and his hope that they would return all through the festival.
For the next 13 days, the place to be in New York for all things piano was IKIF at Hunter College. The repertoire was quite varied but centered on Beethoven (eight sonatas, Diabelli Variations, and Bagatelles), Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, and Schumann. I also heard earlier music (Bach, Scarlatti, Rameau, Mozart, and Haydn), plenty of Russian (Moussorgsky, Balakirev, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Prokofieff), French (Debussy, Ravel, SaintSaens), and even a group of Chinese pieces. Of the nearly 200 works programmed in the main evening recitals, there were only five duplicates: Tchaikovsky’s ‘Dumka’, Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (with different cadenzas), a couple of Rachmaninoff preludes, and Scriabin’s left-hand Nocturne.
Each of the main recitals could justify a full review. That said, here are some of my most memorable moments looking back over the two weeks. Ilya Yakushev substituted Beethoven’s Tempest Sonata for the originally programmed Appassionata. Sonata No. 17 is not heard anywhere near as often as it should be, and the performance was clearly in the mold of the later work, full of great contrasts and unusual power and excitement. Nikita Mndoyants played Beethoven’s second set of Bagatelles and Schubert’s great Sonata, D. 958, on the first half of his recital. The second half was Prokofieff’s Sonata No. 8 in perhaps the most riveting performance of the entire festival. Though I was very sorry to have missed Magdalena Baczewska’s recital, I did get to hear her play gorgeous excerpts the night before (Debussy’s Images plus Chopin’s Scherzo 2 and some nocturnes).
Young Vladimir Rumyantsev gave the most technically demanding recital, which included both Balakirev’s Islamey and Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit—on the first half! At his Saturday afternoon recital the overflowing audience was seated in the aisles and standing along the back. The second half was a big group of great Rachmaninoff preludes followed by Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 with Rachmaninoff’s huge cadenza. The following evening, Feltsman’s masterly Pictures at an Exhibition was preceded by some of Brahms’s ballades and rhapsodies.
Later in the second week, Jie Chen opened with a gorgeously played D 894 Sonata by Schubert and then dazzled the audience with Four Seasons of China and Schulz-Evler’s Beautiful Blue Danube. Dmitri Rachmanov performed Schubert and Schumann (Vienna Carnival), followed by a Russian second half: Blumenfeld, Liadov, Scriabin (including a great Sonata No. 6), and another big group of Rachmaninoff preludes.
Alexander Kobrin closed the festival for the second year in a row. His recital (Beethoven’s Sonatas Nos. 27 and 28, Schumann Symphonic Etudes) brought us full circle from Rose’s opening program, which began with Beethoven and Schumann. Of all the pianists I heard, Kobrin was the most understated, but very much in control; and his soft playing, even in very fast, complex passages, was quite amazing. He included four of Schumann’s five posthumous etudes and brought the recital series to a rousing conclusion.
IKIF’s website (www.ikif.org) is worth investigating. Based on prior years, I expect many of the performances from this year to be available online in the near future. From 2016 backwards, there are over 200 five- to ten minute performance excerpts from past festivals, with Earl Wild, Philippe Entremont, Gyorgy Sandor, Marc-André Hamelin, Leslie Howard, Jerome Rose, and Ursula Oppens.
IKIF’s 20th anniversary is scheduled from July 15 to 29, 2018. It will be a time to celebrate how the event has grown from its first 16 years at Mannes School of Music to its recent years at Hunter. Pianists already scheduled include Vladimir Feltsman, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, George Li, and Jerome Rose. There will be some recognition of the 100th anniversary of Debussy’s death and the 75th anniversary of Rachmaninoff’s. If you love great piano music and live in or near New York, or are looking for excuse to visit, put those dates on your calendar now. You won’t spend a lot of money, but you’ll be richly rewarded for as many evenings as you can attend. After this past summer, you will find me at these events for many, many years to come.
New York Classical Review - July 2017 - Written by Bruce Hodges
Jerome Rose opened the International Keyboard Institute and Festival Sunday night at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College
An evening with Jerome Rose at the piano is usually an evening well spent, especially if he has invited some of his best friends – in this case, three different landmarks for the instrument.
To kick off the 19th International Keyboard Institute and Festival Sunday night at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, Rose began with Beethoven’s Sonata No. 18, Op. 31, No. 3, a relatively gentle opening to an evening that would end in a blaze.
In the first movement, Rose–founder of the festival–captured its sense of hesitation and quiet humor, even if the rhythms could have been cleaner. But he surged forward in the second movement Scherzo, with fleet playing and agility in what sounds like a devilish moto perpetuo. Adopting a riskily fast tempo, at times the pianist seemed to be barely hanging on, but the excitement watching that happen was undeniable. At the end, the audience almost broke into spontaneous applause.
If the Menuetto might have been the high point, it was because Rose infused it with clarity and simplicity. Using a no-nonsense approach, slightly formal but with room for tenderness, the pianist reached one of the evening’s expressive high points. In the Presto finale, Rose found the required “con fuoco” immediately. Rhythms were again dicey, but offset by the pianist’s accuracy in the composer’s relentless dotted rhythms.
One of the challenges in Schumann’s Fantasiestücke is how to characterize the eight sections, in which the composer’s dual nature comes to the fore. From the gentle charm of “Des Abends” (“In the Evening”) to the humor of “Fabel” (“Fable”), Rose made Schumann’s colors vivid and distinct. The high point came with “In der Nacht” (“In the Night”), masterfully plotted, with the pianist capturing the union of Florestan and Eusebius in rhapsodic splendor.
Some inaccuracies in “Traumes Wirren” (“Dream’s Confusions”) were offset by Rose’s quiet wit, which flickered elsewhere throughout the evening. The sequences in “Grillen” (“Whims”) fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. In the tricky voicing of “Warum?” (“Why?”) and in the stormy left-hand rumblings of “Aufschwung” (“Soaring”), the pianist showed quiet concentration, unerringly letting the melodic line float to the surface. By the time he reached the “Emde von Lied” (“End of the Song”), melding heat and introspection, the scope of Rose’s conception became clear.
But for many in the audience, the pinnacle came after intermission, with Liszt’s complex Sonata in B minor. Rose’s pedigree in this repertoire is formidable: his 3-CD Liszt set was released in 2015 on Medici Classics, and was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque from the Franz Liszt Society in Budapest, Hungary.
Rose began with a moment of meditation, patiently waiting for the audience to relax into complete silence. The sober opening soon gave way to stormier sequences, and there was no denying the pianist’s heat and excitement. In the slow movement, nothing escaped the pianist’s gaze (and fingers), as he explored every corner of Liszt’s inspiration. And the pianist kept the ferocious fugue in line, with all voices audible. Rose kept his body language at a minimum, opting to pour energy into the composer’s unyielding torrents of notes.
The thundering penultimate section was gripping, full of adrenalin and a breathless prelude to the calm postscript that brings this vast landscape to a close. In Rose’s hands, the final sequence embodied a great mind coming to rest – actually two minds, composer and pianist. And after a short pause, the bravos, cheers and standing ovations began. No encore was offered, but none was needed.
After acknowledging the applause, the visibly exhausted pianist offered a few words of thanks to those attending, with brief encouragement to support IKIF. Rose deserves immense credit for programming such a beefy opening concert, while simultaneously masterminding the entire festival – two-and-a-half weeks of outstanding pianists, coupled with master classes and lectures.
PianoNews - June 2016 - Written by Carsten Dürer
Die Liszt-Aufnahmen des amerikanischen Pianisten Jerome Rose galten in den 70er Jahren als so etwas wie eine Referenz-Einspielung. Rose hatte 1975 von der Liszt-Gesellschaft in Budapest den „Grand Prix du Disque“ für seine Liszt-Aufnahmen der „Consolations“ erhalten, die er damals für das Label Vox eingespielt hatte. So entschied Rose sich im Jahr 2015 dieser damals wichtigen Auszeichnung mit einer CD-Box mit zahlreichen Liszt-Aufnahmen aus unterschiedlichen Jahren zu gedenken. Interessant ist diese Neuausgabe der Auf nahmen vor allem, da die meisten dieser Liszt-Einspie lun gen bislang noch nie auf CD erschienen sind. Rose er weist sich gerade in den Paganini-Etüden und den Études de Concerts als junger Virtuose, geradezu als technisch auftrumpfender Heißsporn, der aber durchaus weiß, was er da
tut. Das erkennt man in der geschickten Phrasierung und den Rubati, die er großartig einfließen lässt. Allein Geschwindigkeit ist nicht seine Sache, sondern das Ausgestalten der musikalischen Inhalte. Allerdings hat Rose auch seine ganz eigene Spiel- und Sichtweise, bedenkt man andere Aufnahmen aus den 70er Jahren des 20. Jahrhunderts.
Hinzu kommt ein doch recht scharfer Flügelklang in diesen frühesten Aufnahmen. Anders klingen da schon die beiden Balladen von Liszt sowie seine „3 Liebesträume“. Hier kann Rose wirklich zeigen, dass er ein romantischer Geist ist im Sinne von voranstürmend und etwas übergroß in den Aussagen.
Doch in „Seliger Tod“, dem vielleicht in der Aussagekraft beeindruckendsten Stück dieser CD, erscheint dann tatsächlich die weiche und verträumte Seite des Interpreten, mit Grandezza und farbenreich. Auf der dritten CD spielt er dann alle vier Versionen des Mephisto-Walzers, allein dies ist schon eine Seltenheit.
Aber die besten Momente zeigt er wieder in den eigentlichen „Erzählstücken“, so wie in der „Bénédiction de Dieu“ sowie den Sankt-Franziskus-Legenden: Da ist der warme und weiche Klang einnehmend, die genaue Differenzierung in der Dynamik bestens gestaltet. Jerome Rose ist ein großartiger Pianist in diesen Liszt-Einspielungen und es ist gut, dass er in dem von ihm gegründeten Label daran erinnert, welch großartiger Liszt-Interpret er ist.
From PIANONews 2-2016 www.pianonews.de
The Liszt recordings of American pianist Jerome Rose were considered to be a type of reference recording in the 70’s. In 1975, Rose was awarded the "Grand Prix du Disque" by the Liszt-Society Budapest for his Liszt recordings of the "Consolations" that at that time he had played for the label "Vox". Rose decided in 2015 to celebrate the anniversary of this important award with a collection of CDs including numerous Liszt recordings of different years. This new edition is particularly interesting, because most of the Liszt recordings here have never been released on CD.
Especially in the Paganini Etudes and the Etudes de Concerts, Rose proves to be a young virtuoso, positively a technically strong hero, who thoroughly knows what he is doing. This is evident in the subtle phrasing and rubati that he incorporates greatly throughout. Not only speed is his goal, but the shaping of musical content.
However, Rose has his own particular way of playing and perception, considering other recordings of the 70’s in the 20th century. In addition, the sound of the grand piano is quite harsh in these earliest recordings. Differently still, is the sound of the two Ballades by Liszt, as well as his "3 Liebesträume". At this point, Rose can really show that he is of a romantic spirit in the sense of storming ahead, and with perhaps extreme passion.
Yet in "Seliger Tod", the work of the CD that perhaps has the most impressive expressiveness, the soft and dreamy side of the interpretation finally appears with grandeur and richly colored. On the third CD he plays all four versions of the Mephisto Waltz, which already is quite a rarity. But he shows the best moments again in the actual narrative pieces, like in the "Bénediction de Dieu" as well as in the Legends of Saint Francis: here, the warm and soft sound is captured, the exact differentiation in the dynamics revealed best.
Jerome Rose is a magnificent pianist in these recordings of Liszt, and it is wonderful that he reminds us in his self-founded label what an extraordinary interpreter of Liszt he is.
Gramophone - January 2016 - Written by Jeremy Nicholas
Finally another fine Lisztian but of a different vintage. The American virtuoso Jerome Rose recorded a series of Liszt recitals in the mid-1970's and 1986, one of them winning the Grand Prix du Disque (from the Liszt Society of Budapest). To celebrate the 40th anniversary of their first appearance, on three Medici Classics discs, and with the repertoire ordered like a helpful reference library, are six Paganini Etudes, five Concert Etudes, four Waltzes, two Ballades, two Polonaises, Berceuse, three Liebestraüme, four Mephisto Waltzes, 'Bénédiction de Dieu', two Légendes and six Consolations.
Rose takes no prisoners in what is largely a sequence of bravura works (there are remarkable performances of Mephisto Waltz No. 1 and St. François de Paule', for instance) but he also paces and phrases beautifully ('Benediction de Dieu'). It is particularly good to have the complete Liebestraüme and Consolations in sequence and in the best recorded versions I have heard. You may turn elsewhere for more variety of touch (Gary Graffman in the Paganini Etudes) and sheer electrifying execution in 'Waldesrauschen' and 'Gnomenreigen', but as a neatly packaged collection of original works you could hardly wish for a better introduction to Liszt's genius.
Pianiste - November/December 2015 - Written by Stéphane Friédérich
Magnifique interprète (disciple de Rudolf Serkin, entre autres) et pédagogue non moins renommé (au Mannes College of Music, notamment), le pianiste américain reçut le Grand Prix du disque de la Société Franz Liszt en 1975.
Le label a réuni les oeuvres primées, ainsi que des premières en CD.
Ce qui frappe d’abord, c’est la puissance et la légèreté des interprétations. Légèreté, plus que tout, qui produit une sorte d’incandescence au bout des touches et qui est la caractéristique des grandes interprétations lisztiennes.
Chez Jérome Rose, on retrouve une respiration au long cours, associée à la griserie de moyens fantastiques.
Ici, il y a peu de place pour les montages.
Il faut se donner sans réserve (Études de Paganini, Méphisto-Valses – les quatre!) afin de mettre en scène Saint-Francois de Paule et Saint-Francois d’Assise.
Le résultat est saisissant de tension dans des partitions soulevées par une virtuosité transcendante.
Chez Jérome Rose, elle n’est que l’outil de l’éloquence.
On l’entend ainsi chez Bolet, Cziffra, Duchâble, Horowitz, Kissin et qualques rares autres maîtres lisztiens dont fait partie l’artiste américain.
Magnificent interpreter (disciple of Rudolf Serkin, among others) and pedagogue no less renowned (at Mannes College of Music, in particular), the American pianist received the Grand Prix du Disque from the Liszt Society in 1975.
The label has reissued these prize-winning works, as well as works that appear for the first time on CD.
What strikes one first is the power and lightness of the interpretations.
Lightness, more than anything, which produces a kind of incandescence characteristic of major Lisztian interpretations.
In the playing of Jerome Rose we find the long singing line connected by fantastic technical abilities.
Here there is no space for compromise.
He chooses to give without reserve (Paganini Etudes, Mephisto Waltzes – all four!) to better set the scene for St. Francis de Paule and St. Francis of Assisi.
The result is breathtaking tension in scores raised by a transcendent virtuosity.
In the playing of Jerome Rose virtuosity is only a tool of eloquence.
We can feel this in the playing of Bolet, Cziffra, Duchable, Horowitz, Kissin and a few other rare master Lisztians, which includes the American artist.
EPTA - Summer 2014 - Written by Angela Brownridge
Jerome Rose is a virtuoso pianist of the highest order, and in his long list of recordings and recorded live performances for Medici Classics and other record labels he plays, for the majority of the time, solo and concerto works from the romantic era.
Volume 1 of his Beethoven Live in Concert consisted of the last four sonatas, and on this disc he turns to works from Beethoven's early and middle periods. The quality of sound and picture on Blu-ray are outstanding and the lack of fussiness in the camera work shows Rose's economy of technique and lack of any unnecessary gestures. This would be a valuable lesson to any student of the piano and the challenges thrown up by live filmed performances are awesomely met by Rose, who always does what he wants with a control, even in breathtakingly exciting passages, without ever seeming to be careful.
So here the great romantic player transfers his technical and interpretative skills to a different idiom, but what is so gratifying and it could be said unusual, is the virtuoso finding the virtuoso in Beethoven. There is no doubt that Beethoven was a virtuoso, and Rose's performances of these sonatas are far from the sometimes inhibited versions where speeds and attack are more cautious. The speeds in the "Pathetique" and "Moonlight" sonatas are certainly on the fast side, but in the case of the "Moonlight" in the last movement marked presto agitato, the music comes to life with an electricity which I'm sure is just what Beethoven would have wanted. Anything less would fail to meet the brilliance of the writing.
As we move further into Beethoven's compositional life, there is more scope in the Waldstein sonata for virtuosity, and the fast speed that Rose adopts in the first movement is exactly right. There is also more contrast and the emergence of the other aspect of Rose's playing which is power. Speed and power are two of the most exciting things in musical performance, and in this sonata the speed is never in danger of pressing too hard and the clarity of semiquaver passages swirling in torrents, sometimes with filigree lightness, and sometimes with great strength, convey the extraordinary imagination of the composer. However, the second movement, Adagio molto, has another quality of profundity and majesty which are perfectly captured. The sequence of single notes at the outset with Rose is beautifully expressive, and the cantabile rich and deep. The Rondo - Allegretto moderate has just the right degree of lightness and poise which is contrasted with the fire and virtuosity of the triplet semiquavers and later octaves which follow the opening section. This octave passage which starts in the left hand with enormously fast triplets in the right, later being reversed, is an example of exactly how virtuoso a technique is required to bring off this passage at the required breathtaking speed.
The last movement of the "Appassionata" is another case in point where the level of our appreciation of Beethoven's genius is lifted by a speed which is fast and where we feel the performer is fearlessly on the edge, but where flawless execution is never in doubt.
The sonata which asks for the most nuance is "Les Adieux" where the poise and beauty, & feeling of regret are so sensitively achieved in the opening, before the explosion of joy erupts. The Andante espressivo contains the most profound utterances in this work and finds a response of the utmost sensitivity. Here Rose is not afraid to produce grandiose tone where needed and this attitude of going one step further than we might be used to, without ever creating a hard sound, is another aspect that sets these performances apart. The virtuoso is, however, the light-fingered magician in the Vivaccissamente, with a touch that became known as "perle" in the romantic era, and the quirkiness of this movement with its false endings which are testament to Beethoven's sense of humour bring this impressive and thought-provoking recital to an end.
Fono Forum - April 2014 - Written by Mario-Felix Vogt
Bereits 2008 veröffentlichte der amerikanische Pianist Jerome Rose eine Beethoven-DVD mit den letzten drei Klaviersonaten, nun präsentiert er sein zweites Beethoven-Album als hochauflösende Blu-ray: einen Konzertmitschnitt aus dem New Yorker Yamaha-Saal mit den fünf populären Sonaten „Pathétique“, „Mondschein“, „Waldstein“, „Appassionata“ und „Les Adieux“. Ohne aufwändige Schnitttechnik und optische Spielereien wurde das Ganze produziert, somit lenkt nichts von der Musik ab, gelegentlich wird das freundlich applaudierende Publikum eingeblendet. In seinem Umgang mit Beethoven zeigt sich der Serkin-Schüler als Meister der alten deutschen Schule. Geradlinig und großformatig angelegt ist sein Beethoven-Spiel, ohne Firlefanz, und die Bewegungsökonomie von Roses Klaviertechnik hat ihre musikalische Entsprechung in seiner subtilen Gestaltung von Agogik und Dynamik. Die langsamen Sätze nimmt er ähnlich wie Wilhelm Backhaus seinerzeit in recht zügigen Zeitmaßen („Mondscheinsonate“) und bringt sie wunderbar zum Singen, etwa das Adagio cantabile aus der „Pathétique“, während die Unerbittlichkeit mancher Fortissimo-Akkorde in der „Appassionata“ an Rudolf Serkin erinnert. Allerdings klingen auch diese Passagen nicht so schroff wie bisweilen bei Serkin, denn harsche Töne gibt es bei Rose nicht. Mögen seine Sechzehntel-Läufe auch nicht immer so gestochen scharf erscheinen wie bei Gulda und Pollini, so ist sein Beethoven-Spiel doch vor allem in den langsamen Sätzen wärmer und oft auch farbenreicher als das der beiden Pianistenstars.
International Piano - March/April 2014 - Written by Julian Haylock
Jerome Rose Plays Beethoven - Live in Concert - Volume II
Tackling the five most popular nicknamed sonatas in the Beethoven canon is a formidable undertaking, yet Jerome Rose finds something significant to say in even the most hackneyed of masterpieces.
Take the ‘Pathétique’, for example, whose famous opening movement is swept along on cantabile tides that trace the peaks and troughs of Beethoven’s structural imagination with unfailing acuity. If the prevailing modern trend is towards heavily weighted digital clarity and temporal exactitude, Rose creates impressionistic washes of sound with a malleability of timing that imbues his readings with a vital sense of recreative discovery. Where others – notably in the outer movements of the ‘Moonlight’ – have a tendency to treat every utterance with the weight of 200 years of interpretative accretion bearing down on its shoulders, Rose, dissolves the metronomic into washes of velvet-toned inspiration.
Rose’s tendency towards expressive narrative reaches its apex in the ‘Waldstein’, in a reading that fuses the music’s innate classicism with a Romantic impulse that emerges free of furrowed-brow, rhetorical strait-jacketing. We are so used to enduring head-splitting fortissimo sonorities in the modern age that it comes as a surprise to encounter in the ‘Appassionata’ an Arrau-like soundworld of luxurious resonance. An exquisite, dreamily reflective account of ‘Les adieux’ provides the musical icing on a richly rewarding recital of timeless classics.
Pianiste - January/February 2014 - Written by Stéphane Friédérich
Disciple d’Adolph Baller, Leonard Shure et Rudolf Serkin, Jerome Rose fait partie de ces artistes qui possèdent en eux, «génétiquement» presque, une part de l’âme de l’Europe germanique et centrale. Professeur
internationalement reconnu, il poursuit l’enregistrement en vidéo de cycles de pieces considérées comme les fondements du répertoire classique et romantique.
Jerome Rose a choisi cinq sonates de Beethoven qu’il interprète sur un Yamaha CFX remarquablement réglé. Ses lectures étonnent presque tant elles contrastent avec les prestations hautes en couleurs et engestes…de tant de jeunes solistes actuels !
À l’image, on ne verra pas de mouvements inconsidéréset, à l’oreille, de dynamiques fracassantes. La volonté
de l’interprète est de s’effacer devant la musique et, dans le cas de Beethoven, d’en révéler l’architecture
née de formules avant tout rythmiques. Il va à l’essentiel, ne livrant que le texte, resserrant la masse sonore
dans une sonorité pleine. Un Beethoven « pur », presque antiromantique, rappelant celui d’un Serkin dans l’Appassionata. Rien de grandiloquent non plus dans la Sonate «Pathétique » à l’énergie pourtant bondissante.
Dans la Sonate Waldstein, les courbes du chant n’appuient aucun effet, suppriment tout pathos. Le sens
du phrasé est naturel, idéal, au service de l’homogénéité du discours musical. Cet esprit narratif, de l’ordre de la
confidence dans cette sonate, fait songer à Edwin Fischer. Plus loin, dans la Sonate « Clair de Lune », on songe à l’austère conception de Wilhelm Backhaus. Il n’y a que chez les grands « légataires » du piano européen que l’on trouve encore l’empreinte des maîtres du passé. Souhaitons qu’elle demeure indélébile.
Disciple of Adolph Baller, Leonard Shure and Rudolf Serkin, Jerome Rose is one of those artists who possess in them, almost "genetically", a part of the soul of Central and Germanic Europe. An internationally recognized Professor, he continues the recording on video of the cycles considered to be the foundations of the classical and romantic repertoire.
Jerome Rose chose five Beethoven sonatas that he performs on a remarkably regulated Yamaha CFX. His readings most surprise as they contrast with the colorful performances and gestures ... of so many of today’s young soloists!
In the video, we do not see unnecessary movements, nor for the ear, sensational dynamics. The desire of the interpreter is to yield to the music and, in the case of Beethoven to reveal the architecture born from all the rhythmic formulas. He goes to the point, reading only the text, tightening the mass of sound into one line of full sound. A Beethoven "pure", almost anti-romantic, is reminiscent of a Serkin in the Appassionata. There is nothing grandiose either in the Sonata "Pathétique" which nevertheless is bounding in energy.
In the Waldstein Sonata, the contours of the line do not support any effect, eliminating any pathos. The direction of the phrasing is natural, ideal, and in service to the homogeneity of musical discourse. This narrative spirit, and the confidence of order in this sonata, reminds one of Edwin Fischer. Later in the "Moonlight" Sonata one thinks of the austere conception of Wilhelm Backhaus. It is only among the great "heirs" of the European piano that one still finds the imprint of the masters of the past. Let’s hope it remains indelible.
Fono Forum - September 2013 - Written by Mario-Felix Vogt
Wenn man Jerome Rose als Interpreten beschreiben möchte, sollte man mit seinen Liszt-Aufnahmen beginnen. Dessen Klavierwerke haben das Schicksal, dass sie nur selten technisch wie musikalisch auf gleichermaßen hohem Niveau ge-spielt werden. Den Musikern, die nur über durchschnittliche Pianistik ver-fügen, fehlt das Handwerkszeug, den individualistischen Virtuosen Textver-ständnis und Disziplin und den Wett-bewerbspianisten, die seine Etüden allzu ˜ seelenlos wie eine Nähmaschine abspulen, die Sinnlichkeit. Zu den wenigen Interpreten, die Liszts manuelle Anfor-derungen souverän bewältigen und sich seinen Werken strukturbewusst und ohne Gefühligkeit nähern, gehören Svjatoslav Rich-ter, Clifford Curzon – und Jerome Rose.
Dass in dem 1938 geborenen Amerikaner ein echter Virtuose steckt, zeigt seine Aufnahme des buchstäblich donnernden Klavierstücks „Orage“ (zu Deutsch: Ge-witter) aus den „Années de pèlerinage“, Suisse, das er kra˜voller und brillanter eingespielt hat als seine berühmteren Kollegen Daniel Barenboim und Alfred Brendel. Auch die „Transzendentalen Etüden“ hat er gut im Griff: Die ob ihrer eminenten Schwierigkeit gefürchtete Etüde „Feux follets“ (zu Deutsch: Irr-lichter) ˛irrt unter seinen Händen und ist voller Leichtigkeit. Doch das Besondere an Roses Liszt-Spiel ist nicht seine Virtuosität – die rus-sischen Tastenakrobaten Lazar Berman und Boris Berezovsky wissen die Etüden noch einen Tick brillanter und präziser darzubieten –, sondern die Haltung, aus der heraus er sich Liszt nähert. Um die viel beschworene große Linie und um ein logisches und rhythmisch präzises Spiel ohne modische Mätzchen und Ef-fekte geht es ihm in seiner Darstellung der h-Moll-Sonate, und der Klavierken-ner Ingo Harden bringt es auf den Punkt, wenn er formuliert, dass Rose stets da-rum bemüht ist, „noch das geringste Formteil unter dem Gesichtswinkel des kompositorisch Ganzen darzustellen“.
Er tut dies mit einem fülligen, bisweilen sinfonisch anmutendem Klavierton, der sich deutlich von der kühl-schlanken Klangäs-thetik seiner älteren ame-rikanischen Kollegen wie Leon Fleisher oder Gary Graffman abhebt. Ein weiterer Komponist, der Jerome Rose besonders am Herzen liegt, ist Brahms. Den Beginn der f-Moll-Sonate gestaltet er mit orches- traler Wucht und wunderbar sonoren Bässen und proÿliert die Charaktere von Haupt- und Seitenthema sehr gegensätz-lich, ohne den Überblick zu verlieren, und für die beliebte g-Moll-Rhapsodie op. 79 wählt er ein ˛üssiges Tempo und wirkt so jeglicher Sentimentalität ent-gegen. Auch seine DVD mit Schuberts späten Sonaten setzt Maßstäbe in der gelungenen Synthese aus struktureller Bewusstheit und wohldosierter Poesie. Dass ein Künstler mit dem interpre-tatorischen Proÿl von Jerome Rose auch ein herausragender Beethoven-Spieler staltet die Oberstimme als „primus inter pares“. In letzter Zeit setzt er sich wieder intensiv mit Beethoven auseinander: Im Juni hat er eine Blu-ray mit den fünf berühmtesten Sonaten („Pathétique“, „Mondschein“, „Waldstein“, „Appassio-nata“ und „Les Adieux“) aufgenommen, sie wird in Kürze erscheinen, und als ich ihn im März in Paris traf, war er gerade mit der Produktion einer Master Class auf Video beschä˜ igt, in der er Hinweise zur Interpretation und zum Üben von technischen Details in Beethoven-Sona-ten gibt. Zwischen den Aufnahmen hatte er Zeit für ein Gespräch...
Jerome, wie sind Sie zur Musik ge-kommen?
Mein Lieblingsausdruck dafür ist: prä-natale Vorbestimmung. (lacht) Schon vor meiner Geburt hatte meine Mutter beschlossen: Bringt sie ein Mädchen zur Welt, dann wird es eine Tänzerin, ist es ein Junge, dann wird er Pianist. In meinem Geburtsjahr ging sie sogar zu Konzerten in die Hollywood Bowl, um den Embryo musikalisch zu inspirie-ren. Sie hatte eine große Leidenscha˜ für die Musik und wünschte sich eben-so leidenscha˜ lich, dass ihr Sohn ein Musiker wird. Wir nennen in den USA diese Mütter Klaviermütter, sie unter-scheiden sich nicht prinzipiell von den Tennis- oder Eislaufmüttern. Mein Weg war also vorgezeichnet. Mit dreieinhalb Jahren ÿ ng ich an Klavier zu spielen, und mit vier konnte ich bereits Noten lesen. Dann bekam ich Unterricht bei dem in Los Angeles sehr angesehenen Konzertpianisten Marvin Maazel. Er war der Onkel des Dirigenten Lorin Maazel und hatte vor dem Zweiten Weltkrieg eine große Karriere in Europa, konnte aber während des Kriegs kaum Konzerte geben. Da er schließlich von irgendetwas leben musste, war er gezwungen, Kinder zu unterrichten. Denn außerhalb der berühmten Musikhochschulen wie der Juilliard School in New York und dem Curtis Institute in Philadelphia gab es damals wenige Institute in den USA, selbst in Los Angeles existierte damals kein wirkliches Musikhochschulleben.
Sie haben in den siebziger Jahren für das Label Vox eine ganze Serie an Liszt-Werken eingespielt. Wie hat sich das ergeben? Was mögen Sie an Liszt?
Nun, ich hatte damals bereits Schumann aufgenommen, und der Vox-Gründer George Mendelssohn wollte gerne weitere Aufnahmen mit mir machen. Er stellte mich vor die Wahl: entweder Liszts „Années de pèlerinage“ oder alle Clementi-Sonaten. Da ent-schied ich mich natürlich für Liszt. Ich war damals bereits in meinen Dreißigern und musste nun das ganze Liszt-Reper-toire neu lernen, denn während meines Studiums hatte mich niemand in seine Werke eingeführt. Nun wurde ich plötz-lich als Liszt-Interpret berühmt und be-kam für die Aufnahmen den Grand Prix du Disque. Ich bin dafür sehr dankbar.
Glauben Sie, dass seine Musik immer noch unterschätzt wird?
Oh ja. Seine Werke werden außerdem meistens schlecht gespielt. Er war ein großer Klassizist, der den kompletten Schubert, Beethoven und Mozart stu-dierte, also das wichtige Repertoire der Wiener Klassik. Ein Interpret sollte sich seiner Musik mit der gleichen Heiligkeit nähern wie einer Beethoven-Sonate. Ich schätze die Verzerrungen und die Frei-heiten gar nicht, die sich viele Pianisten in Liszts Stücken nehmen. Musikalische Freiheit und musikalischer Ausdruck entstehen aus einer wirklichen Kenntnis des Notentexts. Undiszipliniertes Musi-zieren hingegen empÿ nde ich als chao-tisch, vor allem kann ich es gar nicht er-tragen, wenn Pianisten nicht zählen. Die grundlegendste Organisation von Musik ist doch Rhythmus. Viele Pianisten von heute möchten vor allem Individualisten sein. Für mich ist wirklich großes Kla-vierspiel jedoch dadurch charakterisiert, dass man die Individualität des Inter-preten gar nicht bewusst wahrnimmt, weil man die pure Musik hört. Ein wirklich exzellentes Bœuf Bourgignon basiert doch auch auf einem guten Stück Fleisch und nicht auf den später hin-zugefügten Gewürzen.
Wenn es Ihnen vor allem um die Musik selbst geht, wie-so produzieren Sie seit sechs Jahren vorwiegend Konzert-mitschnitte auf DVD und Blu-ray?
Ich denke, dass der visuelle Aspekt einer Auff ührung ebenfalls wichtig ist. Es ist doch toll, György Cziff ra beim Spielen zuzusehen oder Benno Moisei-witsch, all diesen großartigen Künstlern, die leider nicht mehr unter uns sind. Diese Filme sind wichtige historische Dokumente. Was hätte ich darum gege-ben, Schnabel und Rachmaninow beim Spielen zu erleben. Mit meinen eigenen Konzertÿ lmen versuche ich ebenfalls eine Tradition am Leben zu erhalten: das Klavierspiel der Serkin-Schnabel-Ära, die alte deutsch-wienerische Tradition. Denn ich möchte gerne etwas von Be-deutung hinterlassen.
For the last few years there has been an artist, whose recordings regularly receive the highest ratings in FONOFORUM: Jerome Rose is his name, student of Rudolf Serkin, and one of the most important American pianists. On August 12th, he will celebrate his 75th Birthday – one more reason to present him. Mario-Felix Vogt met the artist in Paris.
If one wants to describe Jerome Roses artistic personality, one should start with his Liszt-recordings. These works have the unfortunate fate of being rarely performed well in technical and musical aspects. Those musicians that have only mediocre pianistic skills lack the right tools, individualistic virtuosos lack text understanding and discipline and Competition pianists, who unspool his etudes often soulless like sowing machines, lack sensibility. Amongst the few pianists that can master Liszt’s manual demands and approach them with sense of structure and without sentimentality, are Svjatoslav Richter, Clifford Curzon – and Jerome Rose. His literally thundering recording of the piano piece “Orage” from the “Annees de pelerinage”, Suisse, shows that there is a true virtuoso within him. He plays it more powerful and brilliantly than his famous colleagues Daniel Barenboim and Alfred Brendel. Also his Transcendental Etudes are masterful: the etude “Feux folltes”, much feared for its eminent difficulty, flickers under his hands and is full of lightness.
Yet, the exceptional about his playing is not his virtuosity – Russian key-acrobats like Lazar Berman and Boris Berezowsky know how to present these etudes even a tad more brilliantly and precicely – but the demeanor in which he approaches Liszt. He cares about the much-adjured big line and a logical and rhythmically precise playing in his performance of the b minor sonata. Piano expert Ingo Harden puts it in a nutshell, when he writes that Rose constantly seeks to “ demonstrate yet the smallest form among the many viewpoints of the whole composition”. He does so with a full, sometimes symphonic tone, which distinguishes considerably from the cool, slim sound aesthetic of his older American collegues like Leon Fleisher or Gary Graffman.
Another composer that is very dear to Jerome Rose is Brahms. He shapes the beginning of the f minor sonata with orchestral weight and wonderfully sonorous basses and profiles the characters of the main theme very contrastingly, without ever losing the overview. For the popular g minor Rhapsody Op. 79 he chose a flowing tempo and thus counteracts any unnecessary sentimentality. His DVD with Schubert’s late Sonatas sets standards in terms of successful synthesis of structural awareness and well-dosed poetry.
It seems obvious that an artist with a interpretative profile like Jerome Rose must be a extraordinary Beethoven-player. In fact, in 1978 he recorded the three most popular Sonatas “Pathetique”, “Moonlight” and “Appassionata”, as well as the last three sonatas and the Sonata Op. 101, the latter actually twice, in 2001 as CD and 2008 as DVD. Rose takes the final movements of the “Moonlight” and the “Appassionata” very tempestuously, powerful and with a rounder, more orchestral sound than, lets say, Friedrich Gulda, whose Fortissimo arrives in a rather steely vestment. The slow movements he mostly plays song-like and simple, yet accompanying figures don’t disappear in a marsh of sound, Rose leaves them their melodic value and shapes the soprano line as “primus inter pares”. It recent years he has been dealing with Beethoven very intensely: in June he recorded a DVD with the five most famous sonatas (“Pathetique”, “Moonlight”, “Waldstein”, “Appassionata”, and “Les Adieux”), that will soon be released, and when I met him this March in Paris, he was working on a Masterclass Video, in which he gives advice on interpretation and practicing technical details in Beethoven-Sonatas. In-between the recordings he took the time for an interview…
Jerome, how did you find this music?
My favorite expression for that is prenatal predestination (laughs). Already before my birth, my mother had decided: if she gave birth to a girl it would become a dancer, if it was a boy, he would become a pianist. In the year that I was born she went to concerts at the Hollywood Bowl to musically inspire the embryo. She had a great passion for music and wished so passionately that her son would become a musician. In America we call these kinds of mothers “Piano Mums”, in principle they don’t differ from “Tennis Mums” or “Figure Skating Mums”. My path was therefore already paved. With three and a half years I began to play the piano, and at four years old, I was able to read music. Then I started lessons with Marvin Maazel, a concert pianist that was very reputable in Los Angeles. He was the uncle of the conductor Lorin Maazel and had had a great career in Europe before the Second World War, however had to stop playing concerts during the war. Because he had to make a living, he started teaching children. Besides the famous music conservatories like the Juilliard School in New York and the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, there was little else in the United States, even in Los Angeles there was no real music conservatory.
In the Seventies you recorded for Vox a series of Liszt’s works. How did that come about? What do you like about Liszt?
Well, I had recorded some Schumann at the time and the founder of Vox George Mendelssohn wanted to make more recordings with me. He gave me the choice: either Liszt’s “Annees de pelerinage” or all Clementi sonatas. Naturally, I chose Liszt. At the time I was already in my thirties and had to now learn the whole Liszt repertoire, because during my college years I wasn’t really introduced to it. Suddenly I became known as a Liszt-performer and received for those recordings the Grand Prix du Disque, which I am very thankful for.
Do you think that his music is still underestimated?
Oh yes. His works are also often played badly. He was a big classicist, who studied the complete Schubert, Beethoven and Mozart, the most important repertoire of Classical Vienna. A performer should approach his works with the same sanctity than a Beethoven-Sonata. I don’t approve of the many distortions and liberties pianists take when playing Liszt. Musical freedom and musical expression develop from true knowledge of the text. To me, undisciplined music making sounds chaotic, and I especially dislike it when pianists don’t count. The most basic organization of music is through rhythm. Many pianists today want to be individualistic. To me though, really great playing is shown when one doesn’t consciously perceive the individual of the performer over the music. After all, a really excellent Boeuf Bourgignon is based on good meat and not spices that are added later.
If you care about the music above all else, why have you produced predominantly Live-Recordings on DVD and Blu-ray for the last six years?
I believe that the visual aspect of a performance is also very important. It is so great to watch Gyorgy Cziffra play or Benno Moiseiwitsch, all these extraordinary artists that are unfortunately no longer amongst us. These films are important historical documents. What wouldn’t I have given to experience Schnabel or Rachmaninoff at the piano. With my own concert films I am also trying to keep a tradition alive: the piano playing of the Serkin-Schnabel era, the old German-Viennese tradition. Because I want to leave behind something of importance.
PianoNews - March/April 2013 - Written by Carsten Dürer
In den vergangenen 10 Jahren ist der amerikanische Pianist Jerome Rose wieder äußerst aktiv geworden und konnte an seine große Karriere in den 60er Jahren, nachdem er den Busoni-Wettbewerb gewonnen hatte, anknüpfen. Weniger im konzertierenden Bereich als vielmehr als weltweit anerkannter Pädagoge und mit seinen CD-Produktionen.
Mittlerweile hat er sich allerdings auf Einspielungen auf DVD verlegt und bringt nun auch noch eine Produktion auf den Markt, die nurmehr als Blu-Ray-DVD erscheint. Ob dieses Format in Europa schon so weit angenommen ist, dass man diese DVD gut verkaufen kann, sei dahingestellt. Letztendlich geht es um die Interpretationen von Rose.
Und nachdem er schon eine DVD mit Schumann-Werken vorgestellt hat, hat er sich nun die zyklischen Charakter-Werke von Schumann vorgenommen. Schon in den „Davidsbündlertänzen“ zeigt sich vor allem eines: Rose hat eine deutliche Vorstellung von der Gesamtstruktur, weiß den dramatischen Bogen zu spannen, ohne ihn zu unterbrechen. Auch in Bezug auf die Klanggebung kann er punkten.
In den „Symphonischen Etüden“ sind Kleinigkeiten manchmal etwas unscharf, aber es entsteht ein wirklich überzeugendes zyklisches Denken. Jerome Rose ist ein Pianist alten Schlags, verkörpert in seinem Spiel fast schon vergessene Qualitäten der Pianistik: Ruhig und konzentriert in jeder Bewegung mit einer bestechenden Ökonomie der Hände auf der Klaviatur weiß er vor allem sich selbst zuzuhören, seinen Klang zu gestalten, so dass niemals wirklich etwas hässlich, oder übertrieben klingt.
Er arbeitet schwer an den Werken, lässt den Zuschauer nicht im Ungewissen, dass diese Werke emotionale Tiefe vom Interpreten verlangen. Und vor allem in der 2. Klaviersonate kommt es durch diese Art des Spiels zu den wirklich großen und überzeugenden Momenten: Jerome Rose weiß die Facetten zwischen rauschhaften Ergüssen und der lyrisch-überzeugenden Gestaltung brillant auszutarieren, um dieser Sonate ein Gesicht – ein ganz persönliches – zu geben.
Rose, der Yamaha CFX-Flügel und das Spiel sind auf dieser Blu-Ray-DVD die alleinigen Protagonisten. Kein Firlefanz, vier unterschiedliche Kameraeinstellungen und der dunkle Vorhang im Hintergrund konzentrieren die Sicht des Zuschauers noch einmal mehr auf die Musik. Warum also eine Blu-Ray-DVD? Schade, da viele dieses Spiel auf diese Weise (noch) nicht erleben können.
Over the last 10 years, American pianist Jerome Rose has become very active again and has been able to continue his great career that began in the 60s with his win at the Busoni Competition, now less as a concert pianist and more as a world-renowned pedagogue and through his CD productions. Recently he has focused on DVD recordings and now published a new production in Blu-ray Disc form. It is debatable whether or not this format has established itself enough in Europe to sell well.
But in the end, it is all about Rose’s interpretations. Having already presented a DVD with Schumann works, he now takes on the cyclical character works of Schumann. Already in the Davidsbündlertänze one thing in particular is evident: Rose has a clear vision of the overall structure and knows how to build a dramatic arc without interruptions. He also impresses with his sound. In the Symphonic Etudes some little details are unclear, but a truly convincing cyclical thought is created.
Jerome Rose is a pianist of the old school. Embodied in his playing are almost forgotten qualities of pianism: calm and focused in all his movements, with an incredible economy of the hands' movement on the keyboard, he, above all, knows how to listen to himself, to shape his sound so that nothing is ever ugly or overdone; working hard on the pieces, the audience is never guessing that these works require a great emotional depth from its interpreter. Especially in the second Sonata, with this kind of playing, the really great and convincing musical moments are created. Jerome Rose knows how to brilliantly balance all the facets between ecstatic outpouring and lyrical shaping to give this Sonata a very personal character.
Rose, the Yamaha CFX, and his playing are the protagonists of this DVD. With no frills, four different camera angles, and a dark curtain in the background, the attention of the viewer is focused ever more on the music. So why a Blu-ray Disc? It's a pity, because this way many cannot (yet) experience this playing.
International Piano - January/February 2013 - Written by Julian Haylock
There is nothing worse than over-excitable, overinterpreted Schumann, so it comes as something of a relief to encounter this second volume of favourite works from Jerome Rose, who absorbs the composer's free-flowing imagination into compelling musical paragraphs. Even when the flights of fancy come thick and fast, as in Davidsbündlertänze, one is left with the sensationof supreme logic binding everything together.
In the Op 12 Fantasiestücke, not a single ugly note is sounded. No matter how awkward and fatiguing Schumann's figurations - most infamously in Traumes Wirren - Rose maintains a remarkably relaxed action, so that at times it looks as if he is merely flopping his fingers gently onto the keys and somehow sounding the right notes.
Not surprisingly, the Etudes symphoniques (without the posthumous numbers) respond particularly well to his ability to sustain the long line that underpins the whole structure. Without resorting to extremes of dynamic or articulation,this is a reading that emphasises the 'symphonic' rather than the 'etude'. However, there are technical triumphs along the way too, not least in Etude 10, where Rose manages to despatch the toccata-like figurations against continuously sounded dotted rhythms without using the sustaining pedal.
Kreisleriana is another magisterial conception that refreshingly avoids outbursts of mannered interpretative rhetoric, yet it is the Second Sonata that really lifts the roof off, with its combination of high-velocity agility and velvety sonorities.The recording and pin-sharp picture quality capture Rose's effortless playing to perfection, and the direction rightly focuses our attention on where it needs to be - those amazing hands.
"Pianiste - Maestro" - January/February 2013 - Written by Stéphane Friédérich
Ce qui frappe en premier dans l'interprétation de Jerome Rose, c'est l'extraordinaire souplesse du geste.
Le pianiste semble davantage dialoguer avec l'instrument qu'engager un combat contre lui.
Dans Schumann, prendre ses distances avec le clavier peut s'avérer périlleux. Le toucher est ici d'une remarquable précision. Il reste fluide, élégant.
Les traits et accords ne sont jamais forcés alors que le son, dans les Etudes Symphoniques, par exemple, est projeté avec éclat. C'est un piano charnu (superbe Yamaha CFX) qui respire à l'allure d'une promenade romantique. Jerome Rose cherche avant tout la clarté du récit, la logique interne de la musique, sans surcharger les lignes des Fantasiestücke. Point d'hallucination, de déferlement de puissance.
Il suggère la passion plutôt que l'exhibitionnisme. C'est plus net encore dans les Davidsbündlertänze, remarquables de lisibilité.
La beauté de la phrase, sa plastique bien ciselée, l'emporte sur la démonstration pure, renouvelant l'attention comme pour la délicate Seconde Sonate dans laquelle il est si facile de s'égarer. La caméra très intrusive nous place au plus près du clavier.
Ces interprétations au caractère artistocratique sont aussi des leçons de maître !
What is first noticeable in Jerome Rose’s interpretation, is the extraordinary smoothness of movement. The pianist seems be in a dialogue with the instrument rather than in a fight with it. In Schumann, getting away from the keyboard may be risky. But here, the playing is remarkably precise and remains fluid and elegant.
Technical passages are never forced, while the sound, in the Symphonic Etudes, is projected with brio. It’s a robust piano (superb Yamaha CFX) that breathes as in a romantic promenade. Jerome Rose searches for the clarity of the line before anything else, the internal logic of music, without exaggerating the lines of Fantasiestücke. No hallucination or surge of power. Everything suggests passion rather than mere display. Even moreso in the Davidsbündlertänze, marvelously intelligible.
The beauty of the phrase and its well-cut sculpting, gives more than pure demonstration, renewing the attention as in the delicate Second Sonata in which it is so easy to wander. The very intrusive camera places us as close to the keyboard as possible.
These aristocratic interpretations are also lessons from a master!
Pianiste - January/February 2013 - Written by Stéphane Friédérich
While visiting Paris we met with the American pianist Jerome Rose whose new recording is devoted to the works of Schumann.
Like many American musicians trained after the war, Jerome Rose benefited from the presence of many artists exiled from Europe:
“My musical tradition is more Russian and German. Russian in the sense that I’ve benefited from a school that knew how to exploit the physical capacities of beginners. I am not talking about style or sound, but of the coordination of body motions.”
The pianist is conscious of the extreme diversity of teachings within the same school.
“I was lucky enough to begin music in Los Angeles. The city was, by then, home of Heifetz, Rubinstein, Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, Piatigorsky… then, I went to San Francisco, another cultural city, with Isaac Stern, Yehudi Menuhin, Leon Fleisher. I studied with a student of Joseph Lhévinne, then of Adolphe Baller, a protégé of Arthur Schnable. I also studied with Leonard Shure and Rudolf Serkin.”
Jerome Rose has recorded dozens of CDs of romantic composers.
“To be honest, my interest in this repertoire came fairly late. I became an interpreter of Liszt thanks to my recording contracts! I was better prepared to play Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Rachmaninov and Scriabin. But I believe that one has to perform other composers than the ones one already knows. Take Serkin, for instance. He was not considered an interpreter of Chopin. Yet, he forced himself to perform all his Etudes in concert.”
Do we have to possess special abilities to interpret Liszt’s music?
“A pianist should be able to play everything,” replies Jerome Rose.
Does he think the same about contemporary music?
“What we once considered “contemporary” has sometimes become “classic” today. Everybody can play the Schoenberg Piano Concerto or works by Dutilleux. The question that arises about contemporary music is somehow quite simple: what does the music mean? Can I memorize it? If not, then I do not see how it could stay in History…”
Jerome Rose’s teaching and especially his masterclasses, are much sough after. What does he get from it?
“As Arthur Schnable explained, I learn more from my students than they learn from me. To teach, is to reflect upon one’s own playing. One cannot teach a work that one has not played.”
Are there interpretative parameters that cannot be taught?
“The way to use one’s own corporeal energy...that cannot be taught. Video recordings constitute a great improvement because the intensity of a performer is immediately caught on camera. Look at Cziffra’s playing...it’s staggering!”
A jury member of numerous prestigious international competitions, Jerome Rose gives us food for thought about competitions:
“Competitions have become, everywhere, a foundation of our society. We always have to be at our best, at any time. But for a jury, what matters is to be convinced that the contestant loves what s/he is playing.”
Are competitions necessary then?
“Yes, if the contestant understands that it represents only a moment in his/her whole career. And among young artists who win competitions, only a few will become great artists, because their interpretations will be enriched by their lives.
EPTA - Winter 2012 - Written by Angela Brownridge
During the early days of his career Jerome Rose recorded an album of Schumann that contained two of the works on this Blue-ray disc: Davidsbundlertanze and Kreisleriana. I was privileged to be present in London's Wigmore Hall when that recording was made and remember vividly Rose's enviable technique, impetuosity and vigour. It was a very physical performance, being that of a young man caught up in the power he was able to wield with an extraordinary passion and wildness, yet with compelling control and accuracy. Listening to and watching this great pianist in this latest recording, the same passion and verve have remained throughout a life in which his performances have gained even more depth of character, more dynamic interest, and that elusive way of playing Schumann which provokes the feeling that it is as the composer would have heard it in his mind. Rose has been described as "the Last Romantic of our own age", and one telling feature which is consistent in all his performances of these major works of Schumann is the freedom of expression in the moulding of the phrases, coupled with stunning virtuosity applied with consummate ease. It is an incredible feat to be able to produce performances such as these live in concert, and the sound on the Blue-ray is sharp, immediate and superior to that of DVDs. The film itself has enough variety of shots to maintain the interest, and Rose's playing is a masterclass in economy of movement in everthing from hushed cantabile to ferocious power.
For pianists who play romantic music there has been perhaps more emphasis on the works of Chopin and Liszt than on those of Schumann. The difference which makes Schumann a more complex composer, and therefore more difficult to interpret, is the personal element in which he exhibits the two sides of his personality, naming them Florestan (the extrovert), and Eusebius (the dreamer). This brings an extra dimension to his music which demands the imagination of the performer to step inside these characters to reveal them. The Davidsbündlertänze constitutes a self-portrait provided by Schumann of his "varied states of mind", highlighted and objectified by the characteristics of Florestan and Eusebius. It is also a representation of the Davidsbünd, Schumann's imaginary spiritual brotherhood of artists whose aim was to combat the superficial nature of contemporary culture. The composer creates music for dancing, romantic love and longing, whilst exploring the innermost thoughts of his mind. There are many recorded versions of this piece ranging from Gieseking (1942), Rosen (1963), Kempf (1967), Ashkenhazy and Hough (1988), and Pollini (2001). To take the opening of Hough's version which gives a preview of both Florestan and Eusebius, there is a myriad of contrasts, and his initial approach is too dreamy without the immediate plunge into the energy which Rose creates; and Rose is the only pianist who takes notice of the 'Immer lebendiger'('livelier') - at the bottom of the first page. Pollini's 'Innig' ('profound, intimate'), one of the Eusebius pieces, is beautifully tender. Hough's is rather slow, almost too introspective, and Rose captures the mood perfectly by not over-indulging the sentiment. Pollini's 'Ungeduldig' ('impatient'), number 4, is too circumspect, and this is where Rose is at his best, driving the music forward. This applies to number six, 'Sehr Rasch' ('very fast'), where with Rose there is no compromise; and the uninhibited upsurge of number 9, although marked 'Lebhaft' ('lightly'), reflects the wild side of Schumann's nature. The ending , 'Nicht schnell' (not fast), benefits from Rose's understatement, as he understands the need for simplicity to put this wonderful set of pieces to bed.
Fantaisiestücke Op. 12 is a set of eight pieces, the title being inspired by the 1814 collection of novellas 'Fantaisiestücke in Callots Manier' by one of Schumann's favourite authors E T A Hoffman. These pieces again represent the duality of Schumann's personality in the form of Florestan and Eusebius. The opening piece belongs to Eusebius, 'Des Abends' a gentle picture of dusk. 'Aufschwung' ('soaring, very fast') finds Rose able to stretch the interval of a tenth in the first bar, (a motif repeated many times), with consummate ease, whereas other pianists such as Brendel appear to have more difficulty. Brendel's 'Grillen' (Whims) is lacking in energy, and whilst his 'In der nacht' (In the night') has clarity and beautiful articulation, Rose's interpretation strikes me immediately as being in a different class from the many others I have heard. It's spooky, cloaked in mist, and moves faster than other versions of which its agitation and turbulence makes it the most compelling version, along with 'Traumes Wirren' ('disturbed dreams') which moves at the ultimate fast pace while losing none of the detail.
Kriesleriana - an enigmatic title of which, in a letter to Simonin de Sire, Schumann wrote: (talking of his new compositions): "of all these, Kreisleriana is my favourite. This title conveys nothing to any but Germans. Kreisler is one of E.T.A Hoffmann's creations, an eccentric, wild and witty conductor. You will like some of it. The inscriptions over my pieces always occur to me after I have finished composing the music." So the wildness begins with the first piece, and I immediately went to Argerich's recording of 1984 knowing that she would be able to deliver all the excitement needed, with the magical contrast of the mesmerising second section: in the closing bars, she almost becomes hysterical, and loses some of the necessary weight. Rose maintains his equilibrium with just a little more emphasis on the build-up of phrases and the important sforzandos. In the second piece, 'sehr innig und nicht so rasch' ('very intimate and not too fast'), Argerich is slower, creating expressive lines, whereas Rose moves forward, and it made me ponder the fact that most pianists opt for a musical performance of movements like this, pausing at the end of phrases, where perhaps Schumann envisaged something on less preconceived lines. Highlights of Rose's performance are number 3, 'Sehr aufgeregt' ('very excited') moving slightly faster than other versions, with highly expressive playing in the slower section with the undulating phrases beautifully captured. In number 6, 'Sehr langsam' ('very slow') Argerich opts for a much slower interpretation which is very Bachian in the second section. Rose has the wind behind him in the demi-semiquavers of this passage,which is not saying they are too fast; and in number 7,
marked 'very fast', Rose is dazzling, able to employ a breathtaking speed. Again he is totally convincing in number 8, 'Schnell und spielend' ('fast and with ease') with its wispy, enigmatic feel, finding just the right tempo for the lopsided left-hand octaves.
The Symphonic Studies Op. 13 form a contrast to the previous sets of pieces, in that they are variations and therefore concerned with musical development rather than exploring the characteristics of Schumann's personality. Ashkenazy takes a slow tempo for the theme, and Richter is extremely slow. In variation 1 Ashkenazy is muted, and Rose utilises the spikyness of the dotted rhythms to good effect. In this set there are also two movements which make me think I have never heard such a telling interpretation as Rose's with as much intensity of feeling in the melody and throbbing bass of variation 8. The music is propelled forward without losing any of its depth, and in the next variation one can hear every note of Askenazy's, as one would expect, but with Rose the figurations swirl in waves to great effect. There are speed changes in Ashkenazy's finale when the music drops to piano. Rose keeps up the momentum , with fast octave- and chordal-playing being one of his great strengths. He provides a convincing end to what can sometimes sound somewhat banal.
The G minor Sonata Op. 82 brings to an end this Schumann recital; both its outer movements demand great speed, the first being marked 'as fast as possible', and the fourth and last movement 'very fast', with a coda which exhorts the pianist to play faster and even faster, which might strike one as being impossible! There are ways round this, but a recording by Anton Kuerti falls sadly short of really trying to get a move on. It's very four-square, the slow movement also being at a very slow tempo which robs the music of movement. Richter decides to go for the very fast tempo, although not from the start. He gets into his stride only after the notorious octave passage near the beginning where the left hand has to stretch in tenths and the right to leap in octaves over ninths. From here on Richter's priority is speed which he can deliver marvellously, often quite lightly. Rose links his speed to the melodic element in the first movement, which is a different approach from that of a headlong dash. The interspersed slow sections he takes quite fast with only a little of the perpetual slowing down the composer asks for. His slow movement has some beautiful cantabile, growing to one of the most passionate climaxes I have heard. The third movement is thrown off with the aplomb it requires, and the final Rondo does meet its 'presto' specification, with a lightness which makes it swift rather than heavy, not really going for the crescendos. Richter also goes for the speed, and Rose in the final section is equally formidable, particularly considering that he is playing live.
It is very difficult to compare CD recordings with this Blue-ray DVD, but naturally the addition of a picture, as well as some of the best sound-quality one could hope to find, would make it a must-see and -hear version. Overall, what is most compelling is Rose's experience of the works he plays, which has given him a consistency and insight, coupled with his technique which knows no limitations. He is without doubt one of the greatest Schumann interpreters of all time.
PianoNews - November/December 2012 - Written by Ernst Hoffmann
Man spürt bei jedem Ton und bei jedem gefilmten Portrait dieses Pianisten, wie stark die Seelenverwandtschaft zwischen Johannes Brahms und Jerome Rose ist. Er sei sehr eng mit dieser Musik verbunden, erklärt der 74-Jährige in einem Monolog über Brahms im Anhang. Seit seiner ersten Begegnung mit der Klaviermusik von Brahms - es waren seinerzeit einmal die Händel-Variationen - habe er sein
Wissen über diese Musik immer weiter verfeinert. Dabei sei ihm auch bewusst geworden, dass aus den Klavierwerken sogar Brahms' große Kenntnis der Werke Richard Wagners herauszulesen sei.
Bei der Arbeit an den Klavierstücken op. 76 habe sich Brahms intensiv mit Chopin beschäftigt und diese Serie hätte auch eine unverkennbare Verbindung zum Violinkonzert und den Violinsonaten.
Etwas topfig wirkt die akustische Atmosphäre beim Auftrittsapplaus von Jerome Rose im kleinen Saal des Yamaha Artist Service Centers New York. Sehr markig und entschlossen gestaltet Rose die akkordischen Intervallsprünge zu Beginn der Klaviersonate Nr. 3 op. 5 und leitet mit Hilfe einer sukzessiven Entspannung zum Seitenthema über. Gerade in diesem Frühwerk, das Rose auch als Studie für die
großen sinfonischen Werke empfindet, legt er es auf extreme Kontraste an, ohne dass dabei Brüche entstehen. Zuweilen hebt er die linke Hand bei Crescendi stärker hervor als die rechte, als wolle er die Phrase mit einem dicken Filzstift unterstreichen. Auch im Finale der Klaviersonate oder bei den „Zwei Rhapsodien" op. 79 erzeugt er aufregend weiche Konturen, die mit den kapriziösen Teilen der
Werke kontrastieren. Dem Moderato semplice der Intermezzi op. 117 verleiht er eine Erhabenheit, die fast an Liszt erinnert. Die Kameraperspektiven sind oft kreuzförmig angelegt, manchmal überlagern sich die Bilder für Sekunden oder verschwimmen stimmungsvoll ineinander. Dann öffnet sich plötzlich eine Raute, die die Frontalansicht des Pianisten einblendet, oder das Bild wird zweigeteilt und
man sieht Rose nebeneinander von der Seite und von vorne.
Through every note and every filmed portrait of this pianist, one can feel the strong affinity of nature between Johannes Brahms and Jerome Rose. "I feel very connected to this music", explains the 74-yearold pianist in a monologue about Brahms in the bonus feature of his new DVD. Since his first recording encounter with the piano music of Brahms – it was the Haendel-Variations then – he has refined his knowledge about this music. In doing so, he also became aware of how one can interpret from the music, Brahms’ incredible knowledge of the works of Richard Wagner. When working on the Klavierstuecke Op. 76, Brahms also studied the works of Chopin intensely. Furthermore, this opus has unmistakable connections to the violin concerto and the violin sonatas, Rose explains.
The acoustic atmosphere of the small hall at the Yamaha Artist Service Center in New York City seems a little subdued during the entrance applause for Jerome Rose.
His interval jumps are very marked and decisive at the beginning of the Piano Sonata Nr. 3 op 5 but with a gradual relaxation he leads into the second theme. Especially in this early work, which Rose cites as an excellent study for the great symphonic works, he opts for extreme contrasts without fragmenting the piece. Sometimes he intensifies the left hand over the right one, as if he wanted to emphasize the phrase with a big pen. In the finale of the Piano Sonata, as well as in the two Rhapsodies op 79, he creates excitingly soft contours that contrast well to the capricious sections. His Moderato Semplice of the Intermezzi Op. 117 has a grandeur that resembles that of Liszt.
The camera perspectives are often in cross-form and sometimes the pictures are superimposed on each other, or blend atmospherically into one another. Then suddenly a diamond form opens from the center of the screen that fades to a frontal perspective of the pianist, or the screen will be divided in half, and one sees Rose both from the side and the front.
Fono Forum - May 2012 - Written by Ingo Harden
Seit einiger Zeit bringt Jerome Rose Hauptwerke der klassisch-romantischen Klaviermusik in repräsentativen Zusammenstellungen auf dem eigenem Label Medici Classics heraus. Parallel dazu erscheint seit einigen Jahren eine ähnlich angelegte DVD-Serie, die inzwischen beim „Vol. 6“ angelangt ist. Der Band zeigt den bald 74-jährigen Amerikaner in Live-Auftritten mit der großen f-Moll-Sonate und allen dreißig „späten“ Klavierstücken von Brahms. Ein stolzes Programm, das nicht nur ein imponierendes Bild des Komponisten entwirft, sondern von dem einstigen Rudolf-Serkin-Schüler auch in imponierender Manier absolviert wird: sicher und gewichtig, schlicht und konzentriert sachbezogen, kraftvoll expressiv, ohne gefühlige oder schwerblütige Seitenpfade einzuschlagen, rhythmisch flexibel nur, wenn dies struktureller Erhellung der Musik dient.
Die Realisierung unterstreicht den absolut seriösen Charakter von Roses Musizieren durch eine Kameraführung, die ohne Rücksicht auf filmisch „interessantere“ Perspektiven oder gar Effekte ihr Hauptaugenmerk auf Tastatur und Hände richtet.
Auch Yamahas einfach ausgestattetes New Yorker Studio und die gnadenlos vollständige Erfassung aller Auftritte, Verbeugungen sowie der bei jedem Beifall automatische Schwenk auf das kleine (freundlich-neutral reagierende) Publikum dürften auf einen durch die moderne Luxusoptik verwöhnten Konsumenten von heute nicht sonderlich einladend wirken. Ernsthaft Musikinteressierte, vor allem Pianisten und solche, die es werden wollen, werden an einer derart ungeschönten Dokumentation meisterlicher Konzertpianistik dagegen ihre helle Freude haben.
For some time now, Jerome Rose has been releasing major works of classical and romantic piano music in representative compilations on his own label Medici Classics. Parallel to this, he has created a similarly designed DVD-Series that has already reached Volume 6. The film shows the soon-to-be 74-year-old American in live appearances performing the great F minor Sonata and all thirty “late” piano pieces by Brahms. This is a big program that not only creates an impressive image of the composer, but that is also performed in an impressive manner by the former Serkin-pupil: secure and weighty, simple and focused, powerfully expressive, without getting lost in sentimental or ponderous side-paths, rhythmically flexible only when it serves the structural enlightenment of the music.
The realization emphasizes the absolutely serious character of Rose’s music making through camera work that is conducted, regardless of cinematically fashionable perspectives or special effects, with its main attention focused on keyboard and hands. Yamaha’s simply-appointed New York Studio and the complete coverage of all appearances, bows and short turns to the small (friendly, neutrally reacting) audience may not seem overly-exciting to some consumers that are spoiled by some luxurious modern visuals. However, serious music-lovers, especially pianists and aspiring pianists, will have real delight in this very unpretentious documentation of masterly concert pianism.
Gramophone - May 2012 - Written by Jed Distler
Over the past few years Jerome Rose has been setting down much of his core repertoire in front of an audience at New York's Yamaha Artist Services for DVD, including works that he's recently recorded on CD. The present DVD offers two and a half hours of solo Brahms, with no less than all of the late Piano Pieces and the youthful F minor Sonata. If anything, Rose plays the latter better in 2011 than he did in his 2007 audio-only recording. The little instances of over-pedalling and of telegraphing loud climaxes have been tempered, without any residual loss of drive or passion in the first-movement development, the Scherzo's swaggering rhythms and the finale's racing coda. The Intermezzo's foreboding funeral-march rhythms are more flexible now, yet manage to sound more insistent. Rose's long-lined, tellingly shaped Andante espressivo also gains in dramatic and dynamic scope, although this may be due to the DVD's superior high-definition sound. The short pieces, too, often reveal Rose at his seasoned best.
Notice Op 76 No 1's carefully contoured imitative writing; and if Nos 2 and 3 are a shade forthright and brusque, No 4's phrases effortlessly ebb and flow over the bar-lines. His assiduous hand-crossings in the Op 79 No 2 Rhapsody's main theme both sound and look effortless, while the Op 116 group stands out for Rose's poetic simplicity in No 2 and his insightful timing and voicing of No 5's strange harmonies. Interestingly, the Op 117 No 1 Intermezzo is relatively spacious and reserved in comparison with the businesslike urgency of the following B flat minor piece (perhaps it's a hair fast for Brahms's Andante non troppo, yet Rose makes it work). Op 119 features a broader, more bass-oriented reading of the C major Intermezzo than usual, an austere, granitic Rhapsody and an achingly drawn-out B minor Intermezzo. It all adds up to a meaty, enjoyable programme. Those who want the music minus the DVD's modest yet effective camerawork and Rose's bonus booklet-notes can obtain the complete audio soundtrack by itself via MP3 download.
Pianiste - May/June 2012 - Written by Stéphane Friédérich
Medici Classics a édité plusieurs récitals du pianiste américain. Spécialiste du répertoire romantique, Jerome Rose s'est produit avec les plus grands orchestres et a gravé un catalogue de disques conséquent. Il est dommage qu'il ne soit pas invité à jouer en France. Son programme d'oeuvres de Brahms couvre plusieurs périodes d'écriture du compositeur. On admire avec quelle facilité (apparente) Jerome Rose traduit avec une belle intelligence analytique les pièces les plus denses comme la Sonate op. 5. Le son un peu mat de l'acoustique accentue la conception organique des oeuvres.
Mais ce qui frappe, c'est la souplesse du toucher, la clarté de l'articulation dans les Klavierstücke dont il souligne avec justesse l'indépendance des caractères. Voici des interprétations limpides, naturellement chantantes, presque distanciées.
Medici Classics has issued several recitals of this American pianist. A specialist of the romantic repertoire, Jerome Rose has performed with leading orchestras and has produced a catalog of important recordings. It's a pity he is not invited to play in France. His program of the works of Brahms covers several periods of the composer's writing. One admires how with such (apparent) ease Jerome Rose has translated with great analytical intelligence the most complex works, like the Sonata op. 5. The slightly dull acoustic accentuates the organic conception of the works.
But what strikes you is the flexibility of touch and clarity of articulation in Klavierstücke which rightly emphasizes the independence of characters. Here are interpretations that are clear, naturally singing, almost distanced.
PianoNews - May/June 2012 - Written by Hans-Dieter Grünefeld
Jerome Rose Plays Brahms - Live in Concert - DVD and Blu-ray
Die Empfehlung, achten Sie auf die Hände des Pianisten, hat beim Brahms-Programm von Jerome Rose signifikante Bedeutung. Denn die Bildregie dieser Aufnahmen „Live in Concert" aus dem kleinen Saal der Yamaha Artist Services in New York erlaubt zu sehen, wie die Kinästhetik seiner Hände offenbar mit dem jeweiligen emotionalen Gehalt der Werke korrespondiert. Elegant bewegt Jerome Rose seine Finger über die Tasten beim „Capriccio - Un poco agitato" der Klavierstücke op. 76, deren „Allegretto non tropo" er zu einem Prä-Ragtime im Tzigan-Stil figuriert. Für die „Rhapsodie" op. 79 mobilisiert er insistierende Kraft, die bei der „Ballade" sogar zu vertikal hämmerndem Anschlag gesteigert wird. Dicht aneinander überkreuzende Hände zeigt eine Nahstudie zur stillen Leidenschaft im „Adagio" aus den Fantasien op. 116 und in den Klavierstücken op. 119 werden filigrane Harfenklänge imaginiert. Evident wird deshalb nicht nur, wie Jerome Rose unterbewusst eigene Affinitäten physisch transponiert, sondern auch, dass er den epischen Stil etwa der Sonate f-Moll vollkommen internalisiert hat und deren expressive Facetten - impulsiv im Allegro, lyrisch im Andante, burlesk im Scherzo und mit Passion im Finale - überzeugend darstellen kann. Mit diesem Brahms-Recital breitet Jerome Rose seine fundierten Kenntnisse der romantischen Seele aus.
With this Brahms recital Jerome Rose spreads his profound knowledge of the romantic soul.
The recommendation to watch the hands of the pianist during the performance has great significance with Jerome Rose’s new Brahms recording. The camera direction of this “Live Concert” from the small hall of Yamaha Artist Services in New York allows the audience to see how the kinesthetics of his hands correspond to the emotional content of every work. With elegance, Jerome Rose moves his fingers across the keyboard in the “Capriccio – un poco agitato” of the Klavierstücke, Op. 76, and the “Allegretto non troppo” he configures into a pre-ragtime in Tzigane-style. For the Rhapsodie, Op. 79 he activates an insistent power, which even increases to vertically hammered strikes in the “Ballade”. Densely crossing hands show a close study of silent passion in the “Adagio” from the Fantasien, Op. 116 and in the Klavierstücke Op. 119 delicate harp sounds are imagined. It becomes evident that Jerome Rose not only transports his inner unconscious affinities, but also, that he totally internalizes the epic style of, for example, the Sonata in F minor and can portray its many facets – impulsive in the Allegro, lyrical in the Andante, burlesque in the Scherzo and with passion in the Finale – brilliantly. With this Brahms recital Jerome Rose spreads his profound knowledge of the romantic soul.
International Piano - March/April 2012 - Written by Julian Haylock
Brahms Piano Sonata no.3. Piano pieces opp.76, 79 & 116–119.
Jerome Rose possesses the ideal sonority for Brahms – seductively rich-toned, with leading voices clearly delineated – yet in the F minor Sonata he reminds us that this is the thrilling brainchild of a burgeoning young genius, not a product of his portly middle age. This is particularly felt in the Andante espressivo second movement, which flows with the infatuating freshness of a youthful mountain stream, while the symphonic exuberance of the outer movements emerge as compelling, organic wholes.
In the later ‘miniatures’, Rose’s clear-sightedness allows us to experience more than usual the music’s temporal compression – these are musical worlds in which every note truly counts. There is a divine simplicity about Rose’s playing – no matter how complex and demanding Brahms’s textural writing becomes, he retains his almost impossibly relaxed finger-action, ensuring that nothing is allowed to cloud the supreme clarity of musical thought. In this respect there are fascinating parallels with Wilhelm Kempff’s sparingly-pedalled, crystalline lucidity, yet Rose evinces an inner, poetic glow that is closer in projection and feeling to Radu Lupu.
Most compellingly of all, Rose refuses to be generically pigeon-holed. Where others adopt a kind of all-purpose musing intimacy in the more introspective intermezzi, Rose is always acutely sensitive to Brahms’s instructions, ensuring that op.118 no.2 is both tender and flowing, while giving extra space to the unbearably poignant Adagio that opens op.119. The excellent picture and sound quality of the DVD version becomes still more resplendent via the sublime clarity of Blu-Ray.
Gramophone - July 19 2011 - Written by Jed Distler
It’s another New York July, and for the first time in ages I can attend the International Keyboard Institute & Festival at the Mannes College/New School for Music auditorium on 150 West 85th Street, now in its 13th season.
Traditionally, founder and artistic director Jerome Rose gives the opening recital. He did so with an all-Brahms program, and, believe me, the man has never played better. Everything is coming together for Rose now. The music emerged with multi-levelled, thoughtfully contoured textures that were full-bodied, clear and cogent, rather than notey. Every piece told a story in sweeping paragraphs and long phrases that allowed Brahms’ cross-rhythmic operations their due, moving over the bar lines yet with unflagging rhythmic incision. You heard that in the two Op 79 Rhapsodies that opened the program, in the F Minor Sonata’s craggy first movement (Rose’s effortless, hair-raising octaves at the development section’s start stunned me), in a slow movement that ebbed and flowed, and a febrile, chance-taking finale that combined Rubinstein’s élan and Katchen’s nerve. Rose gave over the concert’s second half to the Op 116 piano pieces, and fused poetry with power, pushing the Yamaha grand’s immense dynamic range to the maximum, yet never, ever banging.
For an encore Rose played Liszt’s Third Consolation. The final bars are sparse and threadbare, and it was interesting how Rose deliberately drew them out to give them a stronger conclusive sense. This is but one example of how Rose’s musical choices are borne out of long experience and living with this repertoire. It’s been 50 years since he placed first in the International Busoni Competition, and I suspect this current stage of his long teaching and performing life will reap the most artistic rewards.
Indeed, lots of pianists evolve late in life, and wind up producing very special work: think of Rubinstein’s Indian summer, Bolet’s belated international career, the breadth and repose typifying Brendel in his early seventies, Horszowski flowering in his nineties, Earl Wild’s staggering Brahms F Minor Sonata at age 86, Egon Petri at 74 raising the roof as he made child’s play of Busoni’s Fantasia Contrappuntistica. To this stellar list, add Jerome Rose’s Brahms on July 17th, 2011. Will his recent re-recording of the F Minor Sonata be equally uplifting?
The New York Times - July 18 2011 - Written by Allan Kozinn
You might have expected that this year’s International Keyboard Institute and Festival at Mannes College the New School for Music would be virtually a symposium on the work of Franz Liszt. The 200th anniversary of Liszt’s birth is being commemorated this year, after all, and he is the patron saint of the grand Romantic approach to keyboard virtuosity that this festival, now in its 13th season, has always celebrated. He is by no means ignored: the two-week institute includes two sessions (a lecture and an interview) with the Liszt specialist and biographer Alan Walker; a lecture-recital by David Dubal; and Liszt-heavy programs by Gesa Luecker, Cyprien Katsaris, Mykola Suk and HaeSun Paik. But most of the nearly two dozen concerts include only a work or two by Liszt, and a few are Liszt-free.
One of those, surprisingly, was the opening recital by Jerome Rose, the festival’s founder and director and a Liszt interpreter of considerable repute. His program was all Brahms — the Rhapsodies (Op. 79), the Sonata No. 3 and the Fantasy Pieces (Op. 116). It was not until his only encore that Mr. Rose turned his attention to Liszt, by way of a graceful, sweetly lyrical account of “Consolation No. 3” that was all the more welcome for showing Liszt’s poetic side rather than his penchant for thundering octaves. That said, Brahms was an interesting choice in this Liszt year because the composers, though contemporaries, were on opposite sides of a stylistic divide, with Brahms often painted as a traditionalist who held out against the innovations of Liszt, Wagner and the New German School.
Heard a century and a half later, and in light of the musical sea changes that have occurred since, the differences between them seem to have shrunk. Mr. Rose, in his muscular, often explosive readings, seemed intent on reconciling them by playing Brahms with a weight and volume more typically lavished on Liszt’s showpieces. Not that the works Mr. Rose chose resisted that approach. Brahms marked the rhapsodies “agitato” and “molto passionato,” and Mr. Rose took him at his word, giving each a big, viscerally powerful account that could sometimes seem overly incendiary for Brahms, yet never so much that the poetic side of his spirit was overwhelmed.
Mr. Rose’s conception of the Third Sonata was also forceful and urgent, but here he allowed greater nuance. The Andante espressivo second movement, for example, had a lovely, singing quality, though the sense of drive that propelled the fast movements was always just beneath the (comparatively) calm surface. Mr. Rose was at his most varied and flexible in the Fantasy Pieces, in which his assertive renderings of the outgoing capriccios were offset by graceful, richly detailed playing in the more subtle intermezzos.
International Piano - May/June 2011 - Written by Julian Haylock
In Schubert's last sontas Robert Schumann recognised the special quality of this music when he wrote: ‘It seems to me that these sonatas are different from his others, mainly because he [Schubert] has purposefully avoided a brilliant style. As if there would never be an end, they run gently from page to page, now and again interrupted by something more vehement of expression, only to subside once more.’
As if in direct response, Jerome Rose plays the four last sonatas with a time-suspending sense of the infinite opening up before us. In the G major D894, Rose dissolves Classical rhythmic profiles into exquisite musical paragraphs of radiant suppleness. Likewise, in the C minor Sonata he ensures that Schubert’s Beethovenian pre-occupations are fully absorbed into the music’s epic soundscape, whilst poignantly embracing those exquisite moments where radiant sunshine breaks though rolling storm clouds.
If in the A major Sonata Rudolf Serkin (who encouraged Rose’s profound interest in Schubert) tended towards rugged intensity, Rose encapsulates Schubert’s creative spirit in singing lines, out of which emerge bold statements of a more craggy hue. In the final sonata, Rose captures the opening movement’s elusive bitter-sweet contentment with a glowing cantabile of rich autumnal colours, and underpins the Andante sostenuto’s alternating gentle despair and dream-like meditations with ostinatos of hypnotic simplicity. He also allows the dancing gestures of the finale to flow by with a gentle innocence that intensifies the music’s restless flickering between light and darkness. These sublimely insightful performances capture Rose’s luminescent sound world to perfection, and the excellent camerawork is commendably unobtrusive.
EPTA - Spring 2011 - Written by Malcolm Troup
A latecomer for our Schubert Reviews but far too important not to include it as a Stop Press here. To do it the justice it demands would require the whole CD & DVD Column at a bound, especially when it comes to that jewel beyond price, Rose's account of the Bb major Sonata which seems to hover on the brink of eternity. How can he be at the same time the thundering virtuoso which we know him to be, the pastmaster of Liszt's Don Juan Fantasy, and the next moment in D.960 reduce and resign his forces to the trembling silence of fermatas before the world began? No wonder that it deserves to rank as the definitive, let alone finest, interpretation of the last four greatest of the Schubert Sonatas when it is by that doyen of American keyboard wizardry, Jerome Rose, who here subjugates his dancing fingers to the joyous Arcadian choreography of the Schubert G major but not without the grander and heaven-storming passion of the C minor that Schubert was just beginning to let loose. It is a different world, but no less miraculous (and the best part of the miracle is that the DVD allows you to see it and believe it!) than Rose's "last words" on Liszt, Brahms and Schumann in that impressive set of vintage readings which Rose has been laying down as a benchmark for future generations, so that the great tradition of Classic and Romantic piano music, of which Rose is a supremely pedigreed part, need never be lost, free from the passing whims of sensation-seeking musicologists and well-intentioned music editors who, in their zeal to perpetrate the Procrustean doctrine of "authenticity" have all but thrown out the baby (i.e. performance) with the bathwater. More details in our next!
PianoNews - March/April 2011 - Written by Hans-Dieter Grünefeld
Franz Schubert: The Last Four Sonatas
Freundlich und zufrieden ist Jerome Rose, wenn er mit Respekt von Leonard Shure und Rudolf Serkin erzählt, bei denen er in den USA studiert hat. Bei seinen Erinnerungen nennt er diese herausragenden Klavierlehrer des 20. Jahrhunderts als Mentoren, von denen er wesentlich zu seinem Konzept der Interpretation der letzten vier Sonaten von Franz Schubert inspiriert wurde. Sein Schlüssel zu diesen monumentalen Werken ist die Erkenntnis, dass der Kompositionsstil von Franz Schubert autobiografisch introspektiv und ästhetisch durch die Vokalperspektive bestimmt ist.
Was Jerome Rose in seinen kurzen „Notes On Schubert" beschreibt, zeigt sich als Reflexion in seinen Aufnahmen aus dem kleinen Saal des Yamaha Artist Services in New York. Das Cantabile der G-Dur-Sonate wird in kurzen Seufzern hörbar, wie überhaupt Jerome Rose deren Struktur wie kleine Atembewegungen versteht. Demonstrativ ist der dramatische Gestus bei der c-Moll-Sonate, wobei er dem Lied vergeblicher Liebe im Adagio eine entspannte Freude im Allegro gegenüberstellt. Epische Breite des Allegros in der A-Dur-Sonate wendet sich im Andantino zum intimen Nocturne. Und der stringente philosophische Diskurs, mit dem die B-Dur-Sonate beginnt, befreit sich durch Kontemplation zum Lebenselixier.
Diese Qualitäten der Interpretation sind durchaus sichtbar, denn die Kameras haben Jerome Rose bei diesem Konzertfilm nicht stationär auf die Finger geschaut, sondern mit langsamen Zooms und weichen Einstellungswechseln beobachtet. Manchmal wird diese Regie auch von zwei- oder gar viergeteiltem Bild und Spiegelaufnahmen gelockert, sodass das Hörinteresse bei diesen ausgereiften Interpretationen von Jerome Rose auch stets ein optisches Vergnügen bleibt.
Jerome Rose is respectful when he talks about Leonard Shure and Rudolf Serkin, with whom he studied in the USA. In his commemoration he calls these two outstanding piano teachers of the 20th Century his mentors who fundamentally inspired him in his concept of interpreting the last four sonatas of Franz Schubert. His key to these monumental works is the knowledge that Franz Schubert’s style of composing is autobiographically introspective and aesthetically defined by vocal perspective.
What Jerome Rose talks about in his “Notes on Schubert” is reflected in his recordings made in the small hall of Yamaha Artist Services in New York. The Cantabile of the G Major Sonata is heard in short sighs showing how Jerome Rose understands its structure as small breathing movements. He contrasts the dramatic demonstration of the C minor Sonata and its song of futile love with a relaxed joy in the Allegro. The epic breadth in the Allegro of the A Major Sonata turns into an intimate nocturne in the Andantino. The stringently philosophical discourse, with which the B Flat Major Sonata begins, frees itself through contemplation to the elixir of life.
These qualities of interpretation are by all means visible, because the cameras do not focus only in a stationary way on his fingers, but also observe him with slow zooms and soft angle changes. Sometimes, the direction is further loosened with images split into two or even four screens, making Jerome Rose’s fully matured interpretations a visual pleasure as well.
Fono Forum - March 2011 - Written by Frank Siebert
Im letzten Jahr begeisterte Jerome Rose die Musikliebhaber mit Konzertmitschnitten auf vier DVDs, die bei Yamaha in New York vor einem kleinen Auditorium entstanden sind. Die schlichte filmische Präsentation mit gelegentlichen Bildteilungen oder Überblendungen war ganz auf das interpretatorische Geschehen konzentriert, so dass das Spiel des Pianisten unmittelbar und ohne ablenkende Effekte dokumentiert wurde. Die mit Werken von Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin und Liszt begonnene Serie setzt der Pianist nun mit den vier letzten Schubert-Sonaten auf dem gleichen hohen Niveau und in der gleichen bescheidenen, aber keineswegs unsympathischen Szenerie fort. Roses Schubert-Interpretationen haben ein gewaltiges Format, sowohl im Hinblick auf die geistige Durchdringung als auch auf die souveräne technische Bewältigung. Wie bei den letzten Mitschnitten faszinieren auch hier die enorme Konzentration des Pianisten und die gestalterische Ruhe. Das wirklich Meisterhafte besteht in der heute immer seltener anzutreffenden Balance aus architektonischem Bewusstsein, klangsinnlicher Fantasie und spontan wirkender Phrasierungskunst. Durch diese Ausgewogenheit der Darstellung erhalten Roses Interpretationen etwas Zeitloses und Exemplarisches. Ihm gelingt es, jenes seltsame Changieren von Schuberts Musik zwischen schmerzlicher Sehnsucht und balsamischem Trost ohne jegliche Sentimentalität in einen überzeugenden Einklang zu bringen, wie etwa in der subtilen Kantilene aus dem zweiten Satz der A-Dur-Sonate. Bleibt zu hoffen, dass die Serie mit Konzertmitschnitten dieses eminenten Künstlers fortgesetzt wird.
Last year Jerome Rose excited music lovers worldwide with live recordings on four DVDs, recorded at a small auditorium at Yamaha in New York. The simple visual presentation with occasional split screens and cross-fading is entirely focused on interpretation, so that the playing of the pianist is documented directly and without distracting side effects. The series that started off with works by Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin and Liszt is now continued by the pianist with the four last Schubert Sonatas on the same high level and in the same modest, but by no means unappealing, setting. Rose’s Interpretations of Schubert are of formidable caliber, both in terms of mental penetration and competent technical handling. As in the last recordings, the pianist’s enormous concentration and artistic calmness is fascinating. True mastery, only scarcely found today, consists of the balance of architectonic awareness, creativity in sound, and seemingly spontaneous phrasing. Through this balance of artistry, Rose’s interpretations attain something timeless and exemplary. He is able to unite that peculiar change in Schubert’s music from painful longing to bittersweet solace into a strong unison, for example in the subtle cantilena in the second movement of the A Major Sonata. One hopes that the series of live recordings by this eminent artist will be continued.
Clavier Companion - November/December 2010 - Written by Steven Hall
In the fourth of his "Live in Concert" DVD series, Jerome Rose performs Liszt's monumental Sonata in B minor, the "Petrarch Sonnets", Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude", "Funérailles", and "Vallée d'Obermann" before an intimate audience at Yamaha Artist Services hall in New York. Rose brings to the stage an impressive and engaging technical display, captured in superb visual clarity in this four-camera, professionally produced DVD. The bonus features of the DVD include his equally satisfying 1975 BBC performances of "Au bord d'une source", "Orage", and "Les Cloches de Genève".
International Piano - May/June 2010 - Written by Julian Haylock
Carnaval op.9. Fantasie in C op.17. Humoreske op.20.
Jerome Rose (pf).
Medici Classics M50039, 86 minutes
Schumann's piano works encompass some of the most daunting challenges in the solo repertoire. Not only must the player disentangle the various leading voices from the music's predominately middle-range saturated textures, but do so in a way that feels entirely natural. Additionally, Schumann affords us tantalising glimpses into his fantasy worlds, which must nevertheless retain their musical focus at all times.
Jerome Rose has been intimately associated with Schumann's music since the beginning of his career, and demonstrates an ability to evoke precisely the right sound world and tempo giusto for each flight of musical fancy. Set against the background of a masked ball, a series of brilliantly etched characters swirl swiftly past in Carnaval, including such traditional pantomime figures as Pierrot and Harlequin, but also the composers Paganini and Chopin. Rose manages to bring each portrait compellingly alive while ensuring that it retains its place in the structural continuum. The result is a tour-de-force of musical imagination and pianistic ingenuity.
No less absorbing is Rose's ability to make even the most potentially disparate passages of the Humoreske cohere with inevitability. Yet it is the Fantasie that provides the greatest musical challenge here, and Rose rises to the occasion magnificently, riding the tide of Schumann's volatile imagination with commanding eloquence.
PianoNews - May/June 2010 - Written by Ernst Hoffmann
Dass Schumann Jerome Roses Leib-und Magenkomponist ist, spürt man beim ersten Takt des „Carnaval" op. 9. Es fließt und singt und jede Steigerung ist organisch ohne jede Kraftanstrengung und Verkrampfung. Eine hohe Anschlagskultur ist dem amerikanischen Pianisten eigen, der in den Vereinigten Staaten weit bekannter ist als hierzulande, obwohl er mit den Münchner Philharmonikern, den Wiener Symphoniker oder der London Symphony schon aufsehenerregende Auftritte hatte. Die Liszt-Gesellschaft in Budapest verlieh seinen bei Vox erschienenen Liszt-Aufnahmen den „Grand Prix du Disque". Die Aufnahme der großen Schumann-Klavierwerke „Carnaval" op. 9, Fantasie C-Dur op. 17 und Humoreske op. 20 nun fand in dem kleinen Saal des Yamaha Artist Services New York natürlich auf einem exklusiven Yamaha-Flügel vor zwei Jahren statt. Etwas düster ist die Atmosphäre, und der ockergelbe Vorhang an der Bühnenwand verleiht dem Ganzen einen verstaubten Eindruck, was man von Roses fantastischem Spiel gewiss nicht sagen kann. Fein balanciert er die Phrasen aus. Keine übertriebene Dynamik, aber ein hohes Maß an Energetik prägen sein Schumann-Bild. Jerome Rose wirkt ungemein souverän und völlig befreit. Innere Ruhe und Ausgeglichenheit herrschen auch in den schnellen Sätzen vor, nichts wirkt erzwungen oder hektisch und doch brillant und hochvirtuos.
Die Kamera konzentriert sich auf die Hände und die Tastatur. Meist hat Rose die Augen geschlossen und ruht in sich selber, was in kurzen Einblendungen dokumentiert wird. Im Bonus-Track spricht Rose von seinem Debüt mit 15 Jahren, als er Schumanns Klavierkonzert zur Aufführung brachte, von den Besonderheiten in Schumanns Klaviermusik und seinen Ausbildungsjahren an der Juilliard School of Music.
It is apparent from the first measure of the 'Carnaval' that Schumann is Jerome Rose's absolute specialty. Everything is flowing and singing and every climax is organic without any forcefulness or tension. The pianist, who is much more known in the U.S. than in Europe - although he had sensational appearances with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra - exhibits a highly sophisticated culture of attack. The Liszt Society of Budapest awarded his Liszt recordings for the Vox label with the 'Grand Prix du Disque'.
The presented large works for piano by Schumann, the 'Carnaval' op. 9, the Fantasie in C major op.17 and the Humoreske op. 20, were recorded two years ago in the small hall of Yamaha Artist Services in New York on an exclusive Yamaha Grand Piano. The atmosphere is a little bleak and the ocher yellow curtain in the background transmits a dusty impression - something which certainly can not be said about Rose's fantastic playing. He balances phrases with great refinement. No exaggerated dynamics, but highly energetic playing is conveyed by his Schumann interpretation. Jerome Rose seems very poised and completely liberated. Inner calmness and equilibrium also rule the fast movements - nothing seems forced or hectic and yet his playing is brilliant and highly virtuosic.
The camera concentrates on the hand and the keyboard. Rose's eyes are mostly closed and he is resting in himself, which is documented in short flashes.
In the Bonus track Rose talks about his debut at the age of 15 - when he played Schumann's piano concerto, about the characteristics of Schumann's piano music, and about his years as a student at the Juilliard School of Music.
PianoNews - May/June 2010 - Written by Ernst Hoffmann
Mit solchen Aufnahmen kann man sich bei den Yamaha Artist Services in New York natürlich schmücken. Immer wieder spiegelt sich das Antlitz des großartigen Pianisten Jerome Rose an der Frontseite des Yamaha Flügels, so dass auch der für Werbung unzugänglichste Betrachter den Firmennamen nicht vergisst. Abgesehen von diesem Neben-effekt ist Rose eine umwerfende Interpretation ausgewählter Liszt-Werke gelungen, die ihresgleichen sucht. Zudem enthält die DVD einen sehens- und hörenswerten Beitrag des Pianisten zu Liszts Mephisto-Walzer aus dem Jahr 2003 sowie eine Auswahl der „Années de pèlerinage " in einer BBC-Aufnahme von 1975. Das Hauptmaterial dieser DVD stammt allerdings von einem Recital des vergangenen Jahres in New York. Besonnenheit und kontrollierte Kraft bestimmen Roses Haltung bei diesen nicht nur technisch, sondern strukturell ungemein schwierigen Liszt-Werken. Rose weiß genau, dass die Wirkungen der großen Ausbrüche sich potenzieren, wenn man sie aus völliger Ruhe erwachsen lässt. Wo nötig lotet dieser Pianist die Extreme aus und die Läufe gleichen Eruptionen voller Gewalt. Gerade die b-Moll-Sonate ist pure Neue Musik, die weit in die Moderne vorausweist. Die zerrissenen Phrasen zu Beginn könnten auch Ende des 20. Jahrhunderts komponiert worden sein. Roses Ausstrahlung hierbei ist ungemein souverän. Man sieht sein Antlitz trotz der Anstrengung nur wenig gerötet, überwiegend verharrt er in ruhiger Position und öffnet nur ein wenig den Mund, als ob er während des Spiels in irgendeiner imaginären Sprache mit sich selber spräche. Gelungen sind auch die pseudosakrale Andachtshaltung in der „Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude " und die Spontaneität bei den Petrarca-Sonetten 47, 104 und 123.
With videos like this Yamaha Artist Services in New York can certainly show off: again and again the face of the fabulous pianist Jerome Rose is reflected on the front side of the Yamaha grand piano so that even an observer who is normally unapproachable for advertisement doesn't forget the company’s name.
Rose presents a stunning and peerless interpretation of selected Liszt works and, in addition, the DVD contains a very interesting contribution of the pianist from 2003 of Liszt's Mephisto Waltz, as well as a selection from the “Années de pèlerinage” in a BBC recording from 1975, while the main material of this DVD stems from a recital in New York which he played last year.
Deliberateness and controlled strength rule Rose’s attitude towards these not only technical, but also structurally extremely difficult works by Liszt. Rose knows very well that the impact of big eruptions becomes even bigger if they develop out of total calmness. Where it is necessary the pianist goes for the extremes and his scales resemble violent eruptions.
Especially the b minor sonata is pure New Music which already anticipates modernity. The torn phrases at the beginning could also have been written at the end of the 20th century. Rose's charisma in these passages is extraordinary. Rose's face hardly shows the strain; he stays most of the time in the same calm position and opens his mouth just slightly as if speaking an imaginary language with himself while playing. Also the quasi-sacral meditation posture in the "Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude" and the spontaneity in the Petrarch Sonnets 47, 104, and 123 are very convincing.
Audiophile Audition - April 21 2010 - Written by Gary Lemco
Jerome Rose plays BEETHOVEN Live in Concert
Program: Sonata No. 28 in A Major, Op. 101; Sonata No. 30 in E Major, Op. 109; Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110; Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111
Studio: Medici Classics DVD M50029 (Distr. by VAI)
Video: 1.78:1 for 16:9 Color
Audio: PCM Stereo
Length: 86 minutes
Jerome Rose (b. 1938), a veteran of the Busoni Competition and pupil of both Leonard Shure and Rudolf Serkin, has earned the sobriquet as “the last Romantic pianist,” which might even be true, given the mortality rate of our keyboard giants with roots to the early 20th Century. The set of four late Beethoven sonatas derives from the Yamaha Artist Services studio, New York, 2008 before a modest audience.
Without ceremony, Rose enters the plastic, economical world of Op. 101, one of Beethoven’s compressed studies in Classical form, a close kin of the F Minor Quartet, Op. 95. Rose eschews grand gestures and rhetorical flourishes, rather soberly addressing the falling figures that define the first movement’s interior world. Video production by Asaf Blasberg occasionally resorts to double exposure or split-screen technique to parallel the music’s polyphony. A strong attack in the martial second movement perhaps pays homage to the Serkin influence in Rose’s pedagogy, the figures keen and chiseled. In stature and in the thickness of his fingers, Rose reminds me at one of Andor Foldes and Nikita Magaloff. A searching intellect informs the several lines his hands evolve in the course of this fluid aggressive movement. More intimate plumbing of the musical depths occurs in the third movement, though detached in Rose’s plastic evocation of longing, almost hinting at Debussy. The music segues to the introductory bars only to explode—by way of a strong trill--in percussive counterpoint, which Rose molds in expressive periods. A forceful potent coda concludes a gratifying, eminently controlled rendition of this subtle work.
A rather brisk tempo establishes the Aeolian harp motif for the E Major Sonata, whose passions seem ever restrained, though they reach well beyond the near stars. An urgent, even obsessive impulse infiltrates the mercurial design, a haunted sense of tragedy that acts a foil to the lyrical outpourings in the upper registers. Attacca to the blistering Prestissimo, a relatively merciless excursion into bravura pyrotechnics; although here, too, a fateful message lies in its inexorable wake. Then, the first of Beethoven’s many late explorations of the variation form, opening with a plaintive song that permits us a glimpse into (six) by-ways of the human psyche. The more elaborate variants, with their double trills and multiple-hand effects allow us insight to Beethoven’s own improvisatory style. Yet, the repeated figures on a pedal point and the shimmering arpeggios create a resonant intensity that transcends more virtuosity. A touch of Bach polyphony tinges the final moments, strong, aggressive, only to melt back into the original song’s infinite compassion.
The A-flat Major Sonata, perhaps a paean to lost love, allows Rose a moment of emotional repose in the opening movement, his singing tone and taut line moving in liquid harmony. Though, here too, the rising figures and scale patterns move in nostalgic affinities toward some higher realm. Rose emphasizes the E-flat Major motifs as dramatically resonant and anticipatory of the second movement, Allegro molto. The Prestissimo Rose takes as a manic gavotte in jerky accents whose middle section runs off at neurotic angles. Operatic vocalism and aggressive polyphonic treatment combine for the last movement, which pianist Alfred Brendel sees as comprising six distinct sections. Rose accentuates the Arioso dolente aspects of the score, often rocking the figures in a transparent lullaby despite the learned counterpoint that marks the fugue. The hammer blows of fate that announce the liquid version of the fugue might well have spoken to Mahler, the ensuing passion quite convinced of its right to triumph. We can see that Rose himself has been palpably moved by this music.
Last, the fateful C Minor Sonata, Op. 111, to which Rose applies a chromatic canvas, an agon in chiaroscuro. The pursuant Allegro con brio ed appassionato maintains polyphonic sobriety and passionate ferocity, quite capable of breaking out of its self-imposed chains. More than once, we can hear pre-echoes of the Liszt B Minor Sonata in the midst of epic struggles. Rose imparts a dance quality to the variations of the second movement, distilled as it is by learned processes of subdivision and aggressive rhythmic patterns, several of which pre-date jazz elements. The introduction of the trill as a liberating force will not exert such power again until Scriabin. At the conclusion of Beethoven’s monumental harmonic labyrinth, Rose savors the fermata to the full, his having accomplished a trek of monumental proportions.
In his brief Bonus feature, Rose shares pedagogy as it affects this evening’s program: his having assumed the Op. 101 at age 16, and playing it for Robert Casadesus and Rudolf Serkin, the latter of whom remarked, “You don’t seem to know what you are doing.” So, off for studies with Leonard Shure—Schnabel’s American assistant—and beyond to work with a pupil of Egon Petri, the Busoni acolyte. Op. 110 Rose added at La Scala in Milan; the Op. 111 became a part of his work in Britain for the BBC. In Vienna, Rose heard Wilhelm Backhaus, a great influence, and Rose heard Myra Hess in England. He shares this Austro-Hungarian-German-Russian pedigree happily and thoughtfully, and his musicianship is all the more powerful for it.
EPTA - Spring 2010 - Written by Malcolm Troup
MEDICI CLASSICS DVD Jerome Rose plays Liszt
(Sonata in B minor; Benediction de Dieu; Funerailles; Annees de Pelerinage (Sonnetti de Petrarca 47, 104 and 123; Vallee d'Obermann)
Jerome Rose's final word on the classics of our piano literature, which started out so magistrally with his last three Beethoven Sonatas and a Brahms recital (see Issue #89), has now reached its apogee with the Great Romantics - Liszt and Schumann - and it is the Liszt which commands our attention today. Nothing sentimentalized or overly aggrandized about his version of the redoutable Sonata (with which the programme begins) as happens all too frequently with lesser mortals! Instead we have Rose's stripped-down view of a Cape Canaveral-style spacecraft set to withstand light-years of space-travel to the most distant galaxies. How well the tight Lisztian infrastructure stands up to, nay invites, such treatment - a marvel of aerodynamics from start to finish! After the forebodingly Wagnerian fall of the octaves at the start, Rose opens up the engine to the full for lift-off while the sheer exhilaration of the flight strains all Liszt's interlocking thematic engineering to the full though never the dauntless fingers of Rose at the controls. Most pianists would fail at such uncompromising speeds to let the music speak out but not so Rose in this vertiginous attempt on his part to put the Sonata's space-worthiness to the test for 21st-century skies.. It is a case of seeing is believing since, all the time, we have Rose's fingers both in our DVD sights and in our ears thus forcing us to confirm from all angles the prodigious nature of this experiment in three centuries of time-travel. Particularly notable are the hurtling double-octave passages throughout, the brittle sardonic laughter of the Mephistophelean scherzo-section (of this four-movements-in-one sonata) reminding Faust-aka-Rose of the negative consequences of his unholy Pact before it drives him into one final pounding orgiastic bid to break through the sound-barrier of his contract. All in vain, the foreclosure of the Pact cannot be gainsaid, with only the faintest hint of redemption hanging in the balance until the final B in profundis is sounded only to be as abruptly snatched away. This is an account of the Rose-Faust-Liszt pact which, while unquestionably achieving its intergalactic vision, at the same time places the architecture of the Sonata on a par with the all-glass-and-steel architecture of Gehrig and Liebeskind, and roots it fully in the age into which we have now entered.
Nothing could have struck a starker contrast to this "Music of the Future" than the perfect beatitude of the Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude which followed — arising as it does from a vibrant silence with Rose's eloquent left-hand thumb-melody gliding among the Aeolian harp-like filigrees of the right hand, magically combining forces though seemingly independent of one another -the antithesis in their timeless heterophony of the driving intensity of the Sonata, while always eschewing the Victorian mawkishness which with other lesser pianists can often lie close to the surface of this music. Nevertheless, the long-breathed erotically-charged climax, when it comes, is worthy of anything in the Second Act of Tristan. Moreover, the Benediction - one of Liszt's own favourite pieces - had the distinction of being the first piano music to have a whole bar of notated silence in the autograph and it is this 'pregnant silence', sometimes competing with the sound for the last say, which both Liszt and Rose go in search of until the last lingering chords let this silence envelop us.
Funerailles, written for the fallen in the Hungarian Revolution, comes next in this superbly-crafted example of programme-building, replacing the departed soul's free flight heavenwards with the anguish of those left to mourn the dead heroes. As the funeral cortege moves out of sight, the pent-up left-hand octaves burst forth more breathtakingly than ever.
The rest of the DVD is made up of three Petrarch Sonnetts 47, 104 and 123 from the Second Year — Italy - of the Annees de Pelerinage and finishing with the "Vallee d'Obermann" from the First Year — Switzerland. These are poetic emotions recollected in tranquillity like the tales an old minstrel might recount of a bygone age to a strummed accompaniment on harp, lyre or even guitar. Just as Liszt, with pianistic hubris held high, had often sought to rival the collective weight of an entire orchestra in his masterly transcription of the Tannhauser Overture, here we have him disputing the need for a singer at all, despite having originally composed them as songs, so sure was he of expressing their 'programme' through his piano alone. With what sure a hand he conjures up in 104 the poetic conceits and contradictions as embodied in Petrarch's text: "I burn in the ice of your disdain" and "I would fane suffer death than live in suffering" or words to that effect. No. 123, on the other hand, is an advance-study in purest Impressionism and vaporous sonorities. Chopin may well have imitated bel canto in his music but here we have Liszt taking over the role of singer and accompanist alike - as he was later to perfect in his many magical song transcriptions. The poetry inherent in these shorter pieces literally pours out of Rose's fingers, sensitive to each nuance or mood fluctuation in his musical narrative. A perfect way to bring us back to the good earth of shorter-term human emotions as against the transcendental flights to which this DVD has subjected us to till now.
To round off Rose's ascent to Parnassus, we have the Vallee d 'Obermann in which a modest tenor-melody, from unremarkable beginnings, undergoes one thematic transformation after another until by the end Lisztian triumphalism carries all before it in an unparalleled and supremely virtuoso demonstration of two of the best his bag of tricks has to offer: cyclical themes and thematic transformation. And not only does Jerome Rose never miss a trick either but here has a field-day in showing what his reserves of power and infallible musical-mountaineering can do in going over the top of Obermann without once losing the plot or betraying Liszt at his mightiest.
Gramophone - April 2010 - Written by Laurence Vittes
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.
Fono Forum - April 2010 - Written by Frank Siebert
Der Bildschirm gibt den Blick frei auf ein kleines Podium, das gerade genug Platz für den Yamaha-Flügel bietet. Unmittelbar dahinter sorgt ein schlichter Stoffvorhang in lichtem Hellbraun für den dezenten Kontrast zum dominanten Schwarz des Flügels. Von rechts tritt ein älterer Herr um die 70 im dunklen Anzug mit leicht schief sitzender Fliege auf, geht von hinten um den Flügel herum, verbeugt sich freundlich lächelnd unmittelbar neben der Tastatur. Das ihn beklatschende Audito¬rium ist, gemessen an der geringen Intensität des Beifalls, eher klein, was der Kameraschwenk in einen Ausschnitt des Zuschauerraums bestätigt. Vielleicht mögen es 50 Zuhörer sein, eher weniger.
Nun setzt sich der Herr an den Flügel, öffnet sein Jackett, konzentriert sich kurz und legt die Hände mit einer ruhigen, souverän-eleganten Geste auf die Tastatur.
Was in diesen Momenten wie ein eher bescheidener, aber professionell gemachter Mitschnitt eines privaten Konzertes wirkt, in dem der Hausherr sein pianistisches Können vor den Freunden der Familie zum Besten geben möchte, erhält mit dem Erklingen des ersten Klaviertons schlagartig eine neue Dimension: Völlig unverkrampft, natürlich fließend und berührend schlicht erklingt das erste Thema aus Beethovens Sonate op. 101, deren Bezeichnung „Etwas lebhaft und mit der in¬nigsten Empfindung" in all ihren Facetten zu erfühlter und erfüllter Musik verwandelt wird. Am Klavier sitzt ein absoluter Könner, ein wahrer Altmeister: Jerome Rose.
Der 1938 geborene Amerikaner bietet auf diesen vier DVDs, bei Yamaha in New York aufgenommen, großartige Zeugnisse seines Könnens. Obwohl er hierzulande einem größeren Publikum weniger bekannt sein dürfte, zählt Jerome Rose zu den Klavierlegenden unserer Zeit. Rose, der bei Adolph Baller studierte und mit Leonard Shure und Rudolf Serkin arbeitete, fasziniert durch die enorme Konzentration seines Spiels. Seine Körperhaltung und der Gesichtsausdruck sind stets entspannt, wildes Grimassieren oder eine outrierte Gestik der Arme sind Rose völlig fremd. Die Ruhe des Spiels vermittelt eine dichte Einheit zwischen Interpret und Musik. Entsprechend beeindruckend gelingen ihm die drei letzten Beethoven-Sonaten, mit gemeißelter Größe und emotionaler Intensität vorgetragen. Souverän baut er die gewaltige Architektur von Beethovens op. 111, wobei auch hier technisch die Selbstständigkeit von rechter und linker Hand zu bewundern ist. Nicht minder überzeugend sind Roses Aufführungen des romantischen Repertoires, seiner ureigenen Domäne. Schumanns C-Dur-Fantasie vermag Rose mit einem gewaltigen sinfonischen Bogen zu entfalten. Klar umrissen, geprägt von rhythmischer Brillanz trägt er die Balladen von Chopin vor, manchmal etwas kühl wirkend, dafür aber ohne falsche Rubato-Seligkeit. Mit relativ zügigen Tempi meistert er die technischen Klippen von Liszts h-Moll-Sonate und gibt das zerklüftete, zwischen Dämonie und lyrischer Emphase changierende Werk wie aus einem Atem geschaffen wieder. Bei all diesen Aufnahmen bleibt die dezent mit Überblendungen arbeitende Kamera immer auf das Spiel konzentriert.
Diese DVD-Edition, die mit weiteren Live-Auftritten fortgesetzt werden soll, konserviert wichtige Dokumente des Spätstils eines herausragenden Pianisten.
The first picture shows a small stage which offers exactly enough space for the Yamaha grand piano. Directly behind is a simple curtain in light brown which provides a discreet contrast to the dominant black of the piano. Entering from the right side an older man, around 70, appears on stage in a black tuxedo with a slightly tilted bow tie, goes around the piano from behind and bows with an amiable smile right next to the keyboard. The applauding audience seems rather small according to the low intensity of the clapping, which the panning shot of the camera into the audience confirms. Maybe there are 50 listeners, probably less.
Now the man sits at the piano, opens his jacket, concentrates for a moment and lays his hands with a calm, masterfully elegant gesture on the keyboard.
What seems in these moments a modest but professionally made recording of a private concert in which the host wants to present his pianistic proficiency in front of friends of the family, reaches all of a sudden a new dimension with the sound of the first piano tone: completely relaxed, naturally flowing and touchingly simple: the first theme of the Beethoven piano Sonata Op. 101 appears; while its designation "a little vivid and with the most inner feeling" is transformed in all its facets into deeply felt and fulfilled music. At the piano sits a great artist, a true master: Jerome Rose.
The American, born in 1938, offers with these four DVDs great testimonies of his mastery. Although he is less known in Europe, Jerome Rose belongs to the legendary pianists of our times. Rose, who studied with Adolph Baller and worked with Leonard Shure and Rudolf Serkin, fascinates with the enormous concentration of his playing. His posture and facial expression is always relaxed - wild grimaces or overacted gesticulations are foreign to Rose. The ease of his playing transmits a thorough unity between interpreter and music. Accordingly he succeeds in performing the three last Beethoven sonatas with chiseled grandness and emotional intensity. He masterfully builds the enormous architecture of Beethoven's Op. 111 and, all the while, the technical independence of the right and left hands are to be admired.
Not less convincing are Rose's performances of the romantic repertoire - his special domain. He unfolds Schumann's Fantasie in C Major in one tremendous symphonic arc. He performs Chopin's Ballades lucidly with rhythmical brilliance; sometimes a bit cool, but therefore without a false rubato sugar-coating. With relatively swift tempi he masters the technical cliffs of Liszt's B minor Sonata and renders the jagged work, which constantly changes between demonic and lyrical emotions, as if it were created out of one breath. The camera stays concentrated all the time on the playing while working with discreet cross-fades.
This DVD edition, which is to be continued with further live performances, represents an important document for the observation of the artistry of an outstanding pianist.
Pioneer Press/TwinCities.com - March 21 2010 - Written by Rob Hubbard
Did Franz Schubert know what was coming? Did the 31-year-old composer write his final three piano sonatas as meditations on the imminence of his own death? There's evidence to support the idea, but none more compelling than within the music itself, which overflows with a complex and conflicting combination of emotions. And when an experienced pianist gets his hands on those final sonatas, listeners can be taken to depths to which a younger player can only aspire.
Such was the case Saturday night when one of America's grand masters of the piano, Jerome Rose, performed a recital at St. Paul's Sundin Music Hall. Playing two of Schubert's last three sonatas and adding a compelling Frederic Chopin ballade, Rose showed not only interpretive individuality but also an emotional expressiveness that offered intriguing insights into the composer's mind-set in his final year.
Rose opened the concert with Schubert's C-minor Sonata, D. 958, emphasizing the singing in the score, with echoes of the stark, sad and lovely "Winterreise" song cycle that the composer had recently completed. But Rose also summoned up blasts of thunder, Schubert seemingly railing at the fates like his recently departed colleague, Beethoven. The demonic tarantella of the finale sounded like a dance with death, darkly playful and bubbling with menace.
This thirst for the dance emerged again in Chopin's Ballade No. 3 in A flat. It may not have been one of the mazurkas, polonaises or polkas that Chopin favored, but Rose nevertheless gave the piece an interpretation that was light on its feet. That is until he gradually turned up the volume and intensity on its lilting theme until it sounded like a fit of rage. It was a performance of rare power.
The program concluded with Schubert's final sonata, the D. 960 in B flat. On the opening movement, Rose seized every opportunity to emphasize repeated chords reminiscent of the rap of fate knocking at the opening of Beethoven's "Waldstein" sonata (or, more famously, the opening notes of his Fifth Symphony). But the most powerful moments came when the pianist brought a profound sense of resignation to the second movement. After one last delicate dance on the Scherzo, Rose seemed to swirl the gamut of emotions together on a gripping finale.
Rose is also a renowned professor of piano. At 1:30 p.m. today, he returns to Sundin Music Hall (1531 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul) to lead a free master class.
International Piano - March/April 2010 - Written by Julian Haylock
Recorded live at Yamaha Artist Services in New York between 2007 and 2009, Jerome Rose performs some of the most hallowed pieces of the piano repertoire with an exemplary poise and technical ease that is as engrossing to watch as it is to listen to. His sleight-of-hand, engagingly relaxed style makes even the most note-splattered pages appear deceptively easy, almost as though there was no physical effort involved. Yet behind Rose's almost Arrau-like demeanour - watching his gently cosseting finger action is an education in itself- lies a probing musical intelligence that, in terms of its unaffected naturalness and clarity of focus, is reminiscent of the great Louis Kentner.
Rose's tantalising combination of interpretative warmth and structural directness is at its most revelatory in the late Beethoven sonatas. The Prestissimo of op. 109 and Allegro molto of op. 110 possess a no-nonsense, Pollini-like rigour, yet are the polar-opposite of the Italian's essentially vertical attack. Rose's cantabile touch really comes into its own in the op. 111 Sonata, which exchanges Barenboim's high-tensile fire-and-drive for an epic grandeur that ensures the opening movements restless thrusting never becomes merely oppressive.
Rose's Chopin lies closer to Rubinstein's aristocratic benevolence than Malcuzynski's intense sparkle, yet his emotional grip of the emotionally wide-ranging ballades and sonatas is reminiscent at times of Krystian Zimerman. The way Rose initially keeps the A flat Ballade's final coda on a tight rein before spontaneously surging away is unforgettable, as is his deeply poetic playing of the potentially diffuse F minor Ballade. To watch Rose's hands rippling effortlessly over the keys in the scherzo and finale of the B minor sonata, with absolute precision, is a timely reminder that it is possible to play at high velocity and voltage without hammering the instrument into submission.
Liszt's was one of the most complex of creative minds. In his music the spiritually sublime and the irrepressibly vulgar, the genuinely dramatic and the melodramatic rub shoulders, often to mesmerising effect, and nowhere more memorably than in the B minor Sonata. Rose holds the mighty edifice together with gripping insight, never allowing the music to descend into emotional free-fall. One can only sit and marvel at Rose's supreme musical poise and technical control - his thundering octaves and the finger-breaking fugue are nonchalantly thrown off — even if the devil-may-care effrontery of Liszt's more outlandish demands is slightly underplayed here. That said, Rose's refusal to play to the gallery works wonders in the shorter pieces, most especially the three Petrarch Sonnets which resonate in the memory long after the music has stopped.
All three discs are blessed with unobtrusively revealing camera work and excellent sound quality.
Pianiste Magazine - March/April 2010 - Written by Bertrand Boissard
Peu connu en France, le pianiste américain Jérome Rose (né en 1938), est très estimé outre-Atlantique. Il s’est forgé la réputation d’un spécialiste de Liszt, qu’il a notamment enregistré pour Vox. 1er Prix du concours Busoni en 1961, élève à la Juilliard school, il a reçu l’enseignement de Rudolf Serkin. Estimant que ses dons sont insuffisamment reconnus, il a décidé de créer Medici Classics: de nombreux DVD sont déjà parus, qui ont pour but avéré de transmettre une part de son héritage artistique. Ces témoignages vidéo ont été enregistrés dan les salons Yamaha de new York, en petit comité et bénéficient d’une excellente technique. Dans le DVD Schumann, il trouve le bon son dans le 1er mouvement de la Fantaisie op. 17, proposant une lecture flamboyante et noble, d’une belle polyphonie. Son Carnaval, à la rythmique parfois flucruante, peut décontenancer. Le DVD Liszt est passionnant: l’air de ne pas y toucher, avec une économie de moyens étonnante, il pénètre profondément dans la Sonate en si mineur. Le split-screen (écran divisé en plusieurs parties, jusqu’à quatre ici) permet de voir un trait sous plusieurs angles à la fois et, comme dans un film de Brian de Palma, instaure une forme de suspense. Mais que l’on se rassure le pianiste survit à la fin. La main gauche de Jérome Rose est particulièrement puissante (Funérailles), la droite très souple et il captive de bout en bout dans Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude, oeuvre souvent jouée avec componction et qui est ici formidablement vivante et radieuse. Des images d’archives de la BBC des années 70 laissent entrevoir un tout autre jeu, beaucoup plus extérieur, une virtuosité ailée à la Cziffra, dans des extraits des Années de Pèlerinage.
Jerome Rose: An American Master to Discover
Little known in France, the American pianist Jerome Rose (born in 1938) is highly regarded across the Atlantic. He forged a reputation as a Liszt specialist, whose works he notably recorded for Vox. A First Prize winner of the Busoni in 1961 and a pupil at The Juilliard School, he received training from Rudolf Serkin. Believing that his gifts were insufficiently recognized, he decided to create Medici Classics: from which numerous DVDs have already appeared, with the purpose of passing on a part of his artistic heritage. These video testimonies were recorded in the Yamaha Artist Salon in New York, an intimate setting, benefiting from excellent (recording) technique. In the Schumann DVD, Rose finds beautiful voicing in the First movement of the Fantasie, Op. 17, and issues a blazing and noble reading of beautiful polyphony. His Carnaval, fluctuating rhythm throughout, disconcerns. The Liszt DVD is enthralling: unmoving, with an astonishing economy of motion, he deeply penetrates the Sonata in B minor. The split-screen (the screen divided into many parts, up to four here) permits one to see a feature from many angles at one time, as in a Brian de Palma film, creating a form of suspense. But rest assured that the pianist survives at the end. The left hand of Jerome Rose is particularly powerful (Funérailles), the line in the right very flexible and he captivates from beginning to end in the Benediction de Dieu dans la solitude, a work often played with compunction that here is formidably living and radiant. The BBC archival images from the 70’s let us see other playing that is much more external, with a winged virtuosity like Cziffra, in excerpts from the Années de Pèlerinage.
EPTA - Spring 2009 - Written by Malcolm Troup
Beethoven was a composer born on the cusp of change: ancien regime into revolution; classicicism into Romanticism: fortepiano into pianoforte; salon into concert hall. As a result, the interpretation of his music cannot help but be influenced by which side of the Great Divide we take our stand while the difference between classical/Romantic boils down to articulation versus seamless flow. That the latter still finds favour in our ears testifies to how recently its monopoly has been abrogated — mainly through the cult of authenticity's rediscovery of articulation — but both approaches have arguments intheir favour and both have produced outstanding exponents. One such is the DVD before us today. Over the last few years, Jerome Rose has produced a stream of superlative recordings of Chopin, Liszt and Brahms worthy to stand both as a Summa of the 20th/21st centuries' understanding of these composers and as the personal monument of a great pianist eager to leave his mark on his age if only as grooves in a diskette. Only now he has penetrated to the inner core of the pianist's gospel - the so-called New Testament of Beethoven's 32 Sonatas -to voice his valediction through the sounds of Beethoven's own prolonged farewell to the piano. Now his playing has become polished like granite, with a smooth surface gainsaying the toughness beneath. This is vintage Beethoven which has been kept bottled up and aged for a lifetime as if to be drunk deep for one last time.
Unlike its next in line Opus 106, which waged war against the puny limits of the Stein piano, Opus 101 is comfortable within its notation (except for its curious crescendo on a chord) and its modest demands on the instrument - that is, until the split-second dotted rhythm of the march summons Rose's fingers to the parade-ground. But on the way thence each phrase is lovingly rounded, unhurried like the exhalation of a lingeringly long breath which makes us unheedful of the odd fermata. How confident is the spirit of this music with each upbeat or phrase-shape inflected upwards until the movement itself disappears skywards to land on its first perfect cadence. But when it does come, Rose in a master-stroke and by musical means alone makes us realize that the whole movement is but a perfect cadence - dominant to tonic! No need to read Schenker when Rose is in command - all these niceties of construction are painlessly revealed to us in his actual playing. Textures are made to order for Rose's artistry at making each note sing its own song in this gloriously homophonic tapestry of lines into chords! Sometimes, thanks to the counterpoint of the DVD cameras, we have the added thrill of following the uncanny independence of Rose's fingers from three different angles at once. The same upward-striving tendency is evident in the second and third movements as well but for the wonderful Db major section of the march which seems to anticipate late Beethoven in wishing to strip music down to pure vibration.
The genius of Jerome Rose lies in putting into execution what Bettina von Arnim was reported to have told Goethe: that Beethoven truly believed that music mediates between the spiritual and the sensuous, as in the first movement of Op.101, where its outpouring of pure melody on the dominant makes us forget all else. For all that the slow movement could be interpreted as a lead-in (albeit with built-in flashback) to the onslaught of the fugue, Rose prefers to let time stand still as he lovingly traces its Baroque arabesques before turning his unfaltering fingers loose on the wide leaps and rhythmic volatility of the Finale. Rose is never to be deterred in his search for the Idea behind the passing show, whether in terms of ethos, structure, Ursatz or other unifying principle of construction to which, as Busoni said in his Essence of Music "the virtuosity of the true Beethoven player must remain subservient".
It was Beethoven who introduced the principle that every work had to be a new creation - a principle still honoured by Boulez today. Nowhere is this more true than in the monumental distinctiveness of the last three sonatas and Rose finds with uncanny certitude within himself the irreplaceable key to each. His insouciant ripple of alternating pairs of semiquavers at the outset of Op. 109 seems to have been set in motion even before they reach our ears, until of a sudden they collide with the Adagio interjection which Rose treats like the grand improvisation it so patently is - until the two polarities find a kind of grudging interlock toward the end. The Prestissimo — a paean to contrary motion - then breaks in as peremptorily as did the March in Op. 101 only to be exorcised by the sort of hymnlike tune which Haydn brought back with him from Protestant England and which Beethoven intones with diatonic piety. From the return of the theme in Variation Six, we have the sort of long-term build-up of which Rose is an acknowledged pastmaster : first the trill heralded by crotchets on B, then in quavers until a trill proper begins in semiquavers leading into demisemiquavers before it dives to a low bass trill on the dominant while the semiquavers turn into broken chordal figuration in the treble with the trill travelling hither and yon until the second part of the tune is pinpointed in syncopation against it in the treble as it descends over two octaves to permit the movement to finish as it began.
However songful Opus 110 appears to be at first hearing, its building blocks are of the simplest - conjunct-motion ascending and descending scales - to bind together the entire work. And again, as in Op.101, a fugue is used to restore objectivity after the emotional outpouring of the Adagio which in Rose's hands becomes a deeply moving experience. After his spine-chilling descent into the underworld in crushing G major chords we ascend with him to the cool line-drawing of the now inverted fugue. Out of a blanket of augmentation and diminution, the fugal theme bursts forth triumphantly exchanging polyphony for homophony as if to remind us, over an Alberti-style bass, how its melodic profile has dominated so much of the previous action of the Sonata before Rose's virtuoso keyboard-wide volley of arpeggios sends it packing. Unlike so many Beethoven interpretations where, as Barfield puts it: "performances often fail because the mind of the pianist is in opposition to his technique", Jerome Rose never takes the easy option nor allows his fingers to slip into traditional ruts without re-examining everything. Listening to Rose is like confirming in music what science has already taught us about the area of the brain set aside for the fine control of the hand because all roads, of which each of Rose's fingers counts as one, lead irrevocably to a brain which, having been steeped in Beethoven for a lifetime, is now "more Beethoven than Beethoven's".
Trills are late Beethoven's great new time-binding discovery which do for single notes on the piano what the violas and French horns did for the prolongation of the classical orchestral sound, overcoming the decay-rate of single notes to quicken them into a metaphor for lingering string or vocal sound. In the Arietta of Op.111, the faultless coordination of a Jerome Rose is essential to keep this imaginary soundscape ringing in our ears until it finishes as a veritable triple prayer-wheel of trills. Sometimes one feels Beethoven to be playing mind-games with his interpreters and listeners as to which of them can suspend self-consciousness and self-doubt the longest over such rarefied reaches while, on the other hand, glorying in the sheer unchained physicality of the first movement. Throughout it all Rose remains a brooding imperturbable presence while his fingers dart off to every nook and cranny of the keyboard to search out whatever treasure Beethoven may have hidden there. That is why Arrau always used to insist on retaining the original lay-out of the hands on the staves, if not of Beethoven's fingering itself, in recognition that the sheer strain of reaching the passage in question (what Stockhausen used to call action-time) is as much a part of the intended effect as any mere expression marks. After such trills, both Opp.109 and 111 unwind in the same way with the same kind of melody-sparklers piercing the closing sound-curtain of our consciousness.
The fact that the supreme climax in both these sonatas comes in the form of variations - seeking identity under a multiplicity of disguises — is but another clue to Beethoven's inveterate quest for unity, as argued so overwhelmingly by Rose, whether in monothematicism and cyclic forms in Op. 110 or in his recourse to fugue in Opp.101, 109 (variations), 110 (last movement) and Op.111 (development). In Lafontaine's fable, Beethoven has turned from being the hare condemned to know many things cursorily to the hedgehog who knows one thing through and through - as Rose makes clear to us in the course of this Promethean journey to the authentic heart of Beethoven.
Pianiste Magazine - January/February 2009 - Written by Pianiste, B.A.
Served by a very beautiful concert grand, Jerome Rose produces a depth of sound that is remarkable, brilliant playing, but not overly demonstrative, at the service of the wishes of the composer. The position of his hands and of his arms at the piano will be spoken of by connoisseurs.
Gramophone - January 2009 - Written by Jed Distler
Much as I enjoyed Jerome Rose's earlier audio versions of Beethoven's last three sonatas, these more recent (2008) live remakes on DVD are better. For one, the flexible acoustics distinguishing New York's Yamaha Artist Services Salon and the absolutely gorgeous concert grand placed at Rose's disposal add noticeable colour, resonance and breathing room to his interpretations. In turn, Rose obviously responds to these congenial conditions with more inflected, reposeful slower movements. For example, in Op. 111 the first movement introduction's downward suspensions (bars 11, 12, and 13) convey far greater tension and continuity.
Rose also makes effortless sense of the elusive tempo relationships binding Op. 110's concluding movement, and shapes the poetic opening movements of Op. 101 and Op. 109 with the kind of controlled freedom that defines what George Szell meant by how a musicain should "think with the heart and feel with the brain". This also applies to the Op. 111 Arietta's canny dynamic scaling, authoritative melodic projection and soaring long line. Occasional rapid runs and gnarly textures push Rose's seasoned technique to the edge, causing him to rush (Op. 101's finale, for instance), but that's what "live" is about.
The camerawork preserves an accurate visual record of Rose's body language at the keyboard, yet why don't we see any continuous footage that connects pianist to audience, or vice versa? Strangely, you only see applauding audience members via insert-like shots. A bonus feature offers Rose's thoughtful, detailed yet easy-to-follow verbal comments on the music.
PianoNews - November/December 2008 - Written by Hans-Dieter Grünefeld
A concert is a concert. Quintessential for our judgement is, what, how and by whom we hear it. In a film, however, the visual presentation additionally guides our attention. Therefore, the Direction for the live concert “Jerome Rose plays Beethoven Sonatas” came up with something inventive.
The spatial variability of camera positions was very restricted in the small hall of Yamaha Artists Services in New York. In order not to stay in a dull atmosphere of bleak documentation, four standard perspectives – frontal, sideways from the pianist, as well as sideways and from above the stage - are used in fast, smooth cuts. That’s why Jerome Rose appears quite relaxed while playing the Sonata Op. 101; his interpretation is guided by inner composure. Especially concerning the sound, the dissonances have, as in Sonata Op. 109, a clear function, and they are not retouched by him.
He brings the emotional build-up of ‘innigster Empfindung’ back to calmness by an almost seamless reduction of dynamics. One realizes and sees that Rose has been familiar with these sonatas since his youth, as he explains in the “Notes on Beethoven”.
The optic presentation changes for the Adagio of the Sonata Op. 110 as the picture is cut into four simultaneous images. That way, one isn’t drawn into the music so much, but rather has a certain distance to Jerome Rose’s introverted emotional facets through the movement of one’s eyes. Since such splitting of images is just one option of the camera direction and used often, the perception of Sonata Op. 111 with its dark “appassionato” becomes a more relaxed viewing pleasure.
So this production shows both Jerome Rose as a subtle Beethoven interpreter, and also a film concept by which the listening/viewing of piano music gets an aesthetic justification.
New York Times - July 15 2008 - Written by Allan Kozinn
By any measure, the International Keyboard Institute & Festival is the grandest offering in the procession of hybrid seminars and concert series that make up the summer schedule at Mannes College the New School for Music. It runs two weeks, more then twice the length of the other institutes. Its daily schedule is packed with master classes (four most days) and concerts (two every evening), as well as a competition.
This year’s installment began on Sunday evening with a recital by Jerome Rose, the institute’s founder and director. Mr. Rose is a pianist who never met a triple forte he didn’t like or couldn’t make just a bit more thunderous, and he favors repertory that rewards this preference. Why not? He has the fingers, the power and the sense of color and drama to present the barnstormers of the Romantic repertory in a fiery light. At times during his account of Liszt’s “Mephisto Waltz” No. 1, which closed his program, the ambient haze produced by strings of fortissimo chords suggested the sulfurous cloud that Liszt might have imagined surrounding his protagonist.
That isn’t to say that muscularity and outsize gesture were all Mr. Rose had in his arsenal. The gentler sections of Schumann’s “Humoreske,” if never quite supple, were elastic enough to touch on Schumann’s tender side, if only briefly between more impetuous outbursts. Parts of Beethoven’s Sonata in A flat (Op. 110) were enlivened by phrasing that suggested an almost improvisatory ebb and flow, and in the work’s closing fugue, clarity and proportion were as crucial to Mr. Rose’s high-energy reading as tension and drive.
Other comparatively graceful moments took root in the descriptive passages of Liszt’s “Vallée d’Obermann” and the more meditative strands of his “Sonetto 47 del Petrarca.” But these moments seemed not to engage Mr. Rose nearly as much as the feistier, flashier ones, and in retrospect, most seemed less like poetry than like glorified placeholders: instances of contrasting calm between waves of forceful, broad-boned piano sound. Those waves could be thrilling in a purely visceral way, particularly in the Liszt works.
Click here to download this review in PDF format.
EPTA - Spring 2008 - Written by Malcolm Troup
Jerome Rose's new and, believe it or not, first commercially-made DVD, contains not only an incomparable Chopin recital devoted to seven of that composer's major masterpieces, not only a rare opportunity to see the virtuoso in real life in interview with David Dubal, but at the same time a masterclass (for all who will but listen) in the arcane art of authentic Chopin interpretation. Where else can one find that fluidity, even in the slowest motion, that breakaway speed as in the second Ballade while appearing never to be in a hurry, that singing legato in the same Ballade, that sculpted sound where the same phrase (vide the opening of Ballade No.4) emerges each time newly minted? The fact that here we can see as well as hear Rose in action adds to our amazement at how the aural effect can be in such seemless accord with the visual kinesthesis: every physical act on his part seemingly in inverse proportion to the aural impact of his ever-shifting gradations of tone from the pp of the 'Funeral March' Finale to the creative fff chaos released in the closing pages of Ballade No A - truly an "art which concealeth art".
Amazing, too, the hands spread out almost straight-fingered on the keys so that only the warmest richest sounds would be produced by the fleshy parts of the finger-tips whatever the volume - the old German over-arched hand-position would never work for his velvety 'softly-softly' tread on the keys of his Yamaha searching out and palpating whatever tonal mysteries other pianist have been unable to reach.
From the very start of the familiar first Ballade to the two Sonatas, one struggled to lay one's finger on the pulse of this master-musician, how he stole in on all our preconceptions and took us unawares. Was it the ebb and flow of his phrasing where an elongation here would trigger off an acceleration there as if to balance up the time-flow despite yielding to felicities by the wayside or was it something else — his power to 'frame' a phrase, detaching it ever so slightly from its context - like lighting on a painting - with never enough to dislocate it or fragment it? The source of Jerry's art is a constant wonderment to us all, like a natural phenomenon calling for an explanation and finding none. He could as easily be sitting there like some imperturbable round- and smooth-faced Gautama of the keyboard with the music streaming out of his fingers by an act of mind alone — an ideal state as envisaged by those modern day pedagogues who put the brain in the place the fingers used to occupy.
The Ab major Ballade, as it opens up from the centre of the keyboard like a flower unfolding, was the very act of physically stretching made audible — an ever-wider-ranging process which only found its fulfillment in the exultant climax before careening crazily up and down the keyboard.
The uncanny repose of Rose's platform- manner makes it seem no longer a case of one performance so much as the valedictory distillation of a lifetime of such performances. Thus the diminished 'drop' of the Chopin Bb minor Sonata, like the sprung platform of the hangman's scaffold, kicks in as a veritable voice of doom before sending the fingers scuttling off in all directions vainly seeking escape from their grim sentence.
The Scherzo, though a miracle of Rose's deftness and dispatch, gives no quarter either as it beats out its doomsday tattoo - the rat-a-tat-tat of the execution squad - to which Rose offers the swansong of the Trio as a moving bel canto plea. The Funeral March itself is truly cast in stone, the same Db major again acting as a temporary soulful reprieve. In Rose's fingers, now more spatulate than ever, it sings out the saddest song that ever you did hear — the individual phrases set apart ever so slightly, as only Rose knows how to do, with his eloquent left hand contributing equally to the poetry.
Never has the Finale been more spectral and sotto voce with Rose like a quantum physicist making hallucinatory patterns appear and disappear in these cascades of subatomic particles. Rose gave the whole Sonata the breathless unicity of a four-act theatre-piece in which we were never allowed to escape for long from the grim shadow of death.
The B minor Sonata found Chopin and Rose now occupying the Olympian highground, all such passion spent, with Rose showing off the lofty architectonics of the work to perfection before a Finale in which the momentum of Chopin's attempt to anticipate Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries' was ratcheted up by Rose to fever pitch before its triumphant consummation.
In the following informative interview with David Dubal, Jerome Rose tells us in words what turns him on in Chopin as if his heaven-storming fingers have not already informed us of that much more eloquently and convincingly. Nevertheless it is good to confirm as eye¬witnesses what a deep-feeling, rounded and lovable human being is this Jerome Rose when not enthroned by rights on his proverbial podium!
The Piano - March 2008 - Written by Korea
One can describe Jerome Rose as “the Last Romantic of our own age”, a fervent pianist giving numerous recitals and master classes all over the world, a founder of the International Keyboard Institute and Festival and a faculty member of the Mannes College in New York.
However the most impressive aspect about pianist Jerome Rose is his performance itself expressed with such maturity and natural flow. In his recital at Sejong Chamber Hall on January 19th, one could find true freedom in his music that only a man who has overcome life’s turmoil and pathos could bring.
In Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109, Mr. Rose certainly digested the huge scale of sonority and dynamics. His expression was genuine and did not have any extravagant style.
Schumann’s Carnaval, Op. 9 started with a magnificent force. The piece as a whole had a dynamic flow while the caricature of each movement had clear characteristics with vitality and exuberance. The melody line was sensitive yet firmly expressed. His approach to music was fearless and convincing.
The second half started with Beethoven’s Late Piano Sonata. The first movement of Op. 110 No. 31 had a light and illuminant touch. Mr. Rose evidently proved himself as “The Romantic” in his tone color and the natural flow that connected the movements as in one piece. The fugue had a clear structure and tension was built gradually to the end.
The last piece was Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1. His passionate expression and precise articulation brought out the work’s brilliant and dynamic atmosphere most efficiently.
The presentation was most appreciated for the originality in expression that the pianist brought in his performance.
Gramophone - February 2008 - Written by Jed Distler
In the 1970's Jerome Rose first attracted attention with a series of releases on the Vox label, mainly devoted to Liszt, along with some excellent Schumann. Thirty years later he returned to the recording scene with his own label. Medici Classics, resulting in a mini-flood of new releases. His first DVD stems from Chopin performances taped in 2007 in New York. Although the pianist acknowledges applause
before and after each work, one never actually sees audience members. In any case, the Ballades are interpretatively and sonically superior to Rose's previous, audio-only traversals on Medici. The lyrical sections are equally forthright and direct, yet have more room to breathe, as do the Second Ballade's agitated A minor sections, plus the First's and Fourth's exciting yet well proportioned codas. Furthermore, Rose's body language comnmunicates fluidity and poise, and this informs his knack for hitting upon steady yet flexible tempi that are neither too fast or too slow, save for the B flat minor Sonata's slightly protracted Funeral March. On the other hand, Rose's left-hand underpinnings and firm sense of line persuasively propel the difficult-to-sustain Largo of the B minor Sonata, in contrast to certain overly introspective
readings that die on the vine (Lang Lang, this means you!). In a conversation with David Dubal, where the camera strangely avoids showing interviewer and subject in the same frame, Rose's thoughtful, perceptive comments show how the pianist is equally articulate about Chopin away from the keyboard. Recommended.
Four Ballades; Piano Sonatas No. 2 and No. 3
Piano News - January/Feburary 2008 - Written by Carsten Durer
"Jerome Rose ist ein Pianist den man wirklich nicht übersehen kann."
Jerome Rose is a pianist you truly can not overlook.
"Und wenn Rose immer wieder als 'großer Romantiker' beschrieben wird, dann kann man dies nach dem ansehen dieser DVD bestens nachvollziehen."
Time and again, Rose is being described as the 'Great Romantic'. After seeing this DVD, one comes to fully understand why.
"Rose ist ein Pianist der mit immensen Lockerheit am Flügel spielt, entspannt spielt, allerdings mit einer immensen inneren Anspannung."
Rose plays with incredible ease, relaxed, yet with an immense inner tension.
Clavier - November 2007 - Written by Robert Dumm
Rose grips and holds the amazing visions of Brahms through the macabre Scherzo...Brahms continues by parading bits of musical material from past movements..Rose savors, characterizes, and cleanly articulates them all. He compacts the melee of material by keeping his lively tempo... Rose's subtle surge of both tempo and dynamics with each musical section drives and powers his vision to match the composer's own. Rose's clear articulation (in the Handel Variations) closely scrutinizes each of the 25 variations.
Gramophone - September 2007 - Written by Jed Distler
As a budding music student in the mid-1970's, newly converted to the gospel according to Franz Liszt, my objective in life was how to get to know this vast repertoire on a limited budget. So when Jerome Rose's complete "Années de pèlerinage" appeared in the form of a Vox Box, how could I refuse? It wasn't just inexpensive, it was dirt cheap. While the recordings offered zilch in the way of nuance, colour and dynamic range, you still could realise that Rose was a knowing, confident Lisztian: bold, direct, more interested in getting the narrative across than dulcet tones. That said, a marvellous sense of melodic projection shapes and sustains lyrical, instrospective selections such as "Pastorale", "Les cloches de Genève", "Sposalizio" and the "Sonetto 123 del Petrarca". Rose's gauntly reproduced sonority certainly befits Book 3's bleaker, starker selections (the second and longer of the two pieces entitled "Aux cyprès de la Villa d'Este"). And when flat-out virtuosity is called for, Rose responds in kind, as the gaunt propulsion of his octave work in "Orage", "Vallée d'Obermann" and the "Dante Sonata" bears out. I only question Rose's unconvincingly slow tempo for "Eglogue" - hardly the "Allegretto con moto" Liszt had in mind. While this release may prove a tough sell in light of today's competition, one certainly hears why it was held in high regard.
DrehPunktKultur - August 2007 - Written by Karl Winkler
Jerome Rose (Klavier) spielte bei seinem Dozentenkonzert am Dienstag (7.8.) im Wiener Saal Werke von Beethoven, Schumann, Müllenbach, Liszt und Chopin.
08/08/07 In Liszts "Tanz in der Dorfschänke" schien der Leibhaftige persönlich aufzuspielen, prasselnd ging ein Funkenregen nieder, und der Walzer erlaubte keine Verschnaufpause, wurde zu einer raschen Verführung mit drohendem Unterton. Ungebremst ließ Jerome Rose das Gebälk buchstäblich zusammenkrachen, ein tollkühner Ausbruch, dann war die Spelunke abgebrannt.
So spielte er sich die Wut über den verlorenen Faden von der Seele. Wenige Sekunden vor dem Ende eines großen Programms war er ihm gerissen, in Chopins grollendem Presto-Finale der zweiten Klaviersonate. Man hätte ihn so auch nicht gehen lassen wollen, denn reich war die Ernte dieses brillanten Romantikers am Klavier. Schon im Scherzo des op.35 hatte er mühelos federnd die Oktavenetüde in den Schatten gestellt, um im Mittelteil dafür viele Stimmen eindringlich zum Leben zu erwecken. In Erinnerung bleibt auch der heftig artikulierte erste Satz und die große Klage der Marche funèbre, der düstere Halbtonschritt des Basses, der den Trauerkondukt um die Kathedrale geleitete.
Begonnen hatte der Abend mit Beethovens Sonate op.31/3, sehr gebunden und beinahe mild, aber schon die Durchführung des ersten Satzes zerlegte das Material. Kein Lautstärkekontrast ist da eingeebnet, ohne dass Rose indes die Lautstärke übertriebe. Auch nicht das Tempo, selbst wenn es für Augenblicke schien, er müsse sich sehr beherrschen, um sich nicht selbst zu überholen.
Schumanns Fantasie op.17 kommt diesem Temperament ideal entgegen. Da darf er loslegen, die Aufschwünge sind ungeheuer, kurze Momente des Innehaltens werden umso bedeutsamer. Und mitten im großen Schwung tauchen überraschend, sorgfältig gezeichnet, kleine Verzierungen auf, zerbrechliche Schiffchen auf stürmischer See. Fantastisch die Temporegie, frei und natürlich (Rose atmet nicht nur mit, er singt auch mit, manchmal hört man es). Herrlich körperhaft ist sein Ton, dicht bis in die tiefsten Bässe, eine Fähigkeit, die nur den Besten zur Verfügung steht.
Der Direktor der Sommerakademie, Alexander Müllenbach, durfte sich gleich nach der Pause besonders freuen: "Unter dem Regenbogen" heißt eine Sammlung von elf Stücken, die er 1991 geschrieben hat, technisch sich steigernd vom Anfänger bis zum Lehrer. Jerome Rose spielte die letzten drei, liebevoll und mit Witz (Nr.11: "Katzen aller Arten"), manche Wendung ließ an eine – durchaus eigenständige – Debussy-Nachfolge denken.
Jerome Rose, Jahrgang 1938 und bestens in Form, ist fast unmittelbar von seinem renommierten International Keyboard Institute & Festival in New York (15. bis 29.Juli) zur Sommerakademie des Mozarteums nach Salzburg gekommen. Man möchte ihn gerne wieder hier sehen und hören.
Jerome Rose, geboren 1938, studierte u.a. bei Rudolf Serkin. Er ist Gewinner des Busoni-Wettbewerbs 1961 und des Grand Prix der Budapester Liszt Gesellschaft für seine Liszt-Aufnahmen. Gründer und Leiter des International Keyboard Institute & Festival, New York City (heuer u.a. mit Jeffrey Swann, Michel Béroff, Marc-André Hamelin). Jerome Roseveröffentlicht seine Aufnahmen (auch frühere) unter seinem eigenen Label Medici Classics.
Clavier - July 2007 - Written by Robert Dumm
When I first heard Jerome Rose in 1989, the West coast pianist had come to give a workshop on the arrangements of 12 mazurkas for voice and piano made by Pauline Viardot, the great mezzo-soprano who was Chopin’s friend.
In our interview then I found an eager, erudite mind of sensibility and bursting ideas. Rose steered his career by his personal interests, doing things for their own sake, like recording more Liszt than anyone had, before the Liszt revival. His early performances showed a builder, whose every note fit into his entire plan. You always felt his grand design, though sometimes the seams showed.
Twenty years later Rose is still the builder, with plenty of artistic growth to show on his first DVD, Jerome Rose Plays Chopin, Live in Concert. Happily given to Chopin’s idea of bel canto in six of the compositer’s most expansive compositions, he comes on stage, faces his audience, eyes half closed with a blissful smile, and sits for Chopin’s first Ballade in G Minor, Op. 23. The born storyteller sense the poetic power of the legend about to unfold and dives head first into the narrative stream. Gone are the seams.
Rose trusts his intuition and lets the music well from inside, guiding each phrase by subtle rubatos or restraint, phrases whose end notes bloom organically into new phrases, ideal for ballades. The Ballades to come are in the order Chopin composed them: Ballade No. 2 in F, Op. 38; Ballade No. 3 in A flat, Op. 47; Ballade No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 52. Weeping chromaticism like a Divine Comedy of human dreaming.
In each ballade Rose knows and clearly shows the exact means. He suspends a note, pedals a pause that turns dreams to nightmare as the lulling dance rhythm accelerates, only to crash in a resonant silence. Rose makes it happen every time.
The artist’s combination of long vision with articulate detail works as well for the two Chopin sonatas that end the DVD – the dramatic, conflicted Funerla March Sonata, Op. 35 in B flat Minor and the angelically lyrical B Minor Sonata, Op. 58, where Rose sings every note of an endless melody in a bel canto style.
Rose’s timing of tensions is superb. He builds with achingly gradual restraint through the dominant harmony that returns the prodigal theme at last intact. It is doubly affirmative, symphonically augmented to the relif of all – in a wash of Romantic agony. The DVD is full of such moments, and you will want to hear it again and again.
As an extra, Rose speaks with his friend David Dubal about Chopin’s genius, full-bloom in his early concert pieces and strongly individual to the end.
La Opinión - June 13 2007 - Written by Adriana Vargas
El intérprete demostró no solo dominio en su instrumento, sino comprensión y armonía hacia las obras de estos tres grandes de la música clásica. El segundo concierto del festival de piano del Teatro Isauro Martínez, estuvo cargado de la pasión interpretativa del norteamericano Jerome Rose, pianista que ha recorrido la mayor parte del repertorio de este instrumento en los grandes compositores.
Ayer deleitó a los laguneros con obras de Beethoven, Schumann y Chopin, pasando de la rapidez y eficacia técnica en el primero, a la melancolía y pasión en los dos últimos.
El intérprete demostró no solo dominio en su instrumento, sino comprensión y armonía hacia las obras de estos tres grandes de la música clásica.
Desde hace tres años, el TIM se ha convertido en la sede de este importante festival que comenzó en la sala Beethoven de Monterrey y ha ido captando cada vez más público aficionado a los sonidos de este instrumento.
El segundo concierto de esta serie, gozó de la presencia de un público que llenó casi tres cuartas partes del teatro, lo que demuestra un interés por cultivar el gusto hacia las obras más importantes de este instrumento.
El programa de Jerome Rose comenzó con la Sonata en Mi Bemol mayor número 3 de Beethoven, dividida en cuatro movimientos en los que el pianista demostró dominio técnico, rapidez y gracia.
El Allegro fue interpretado con destreza, parta continuar con el scherzo: Allegretto Vivace, el Menuetto un poco más lento y suave, para concluir con el Presto con fuoco y un alegre final.
Los aplausos no se hicieron esperar y el ejecutante continuó con la Fantasía en Do Mayor de Schumann, comenzando con un primer movimiento apasionado, que irrumpió con su sonido en todo el eco del teatro y su expresión permaneció durante varios minutos.
Y es que según ha expresado el propio compositor, el primer movimiento es la pieza más apasionada que ha compuesto.
De esa pasión, siguió la melancolía del segundo movimiento Moderado, que continuó con una atmósfera romántica durante toda la obra y de un gran contenido emocional.
De esta melancolía, Jerome Rose hizo celebrar su expresividad por el público, para finalizar con la Sonata 2 en si bemol de Chopin, dividida en Grave Doppio Movimiento, Scherzo, Marcha Fúnebre y Presto.
La carrera de Rose comenzó cuando el músico tenía tan solo 15 años, en un concierto con la San Francisco Symphony, posteriormente se graduó del Mannes College y del Juliard School of Music.
Ha tocado con las orquestas Filarmónica de Berlín, Filarmónica de Munich, Viena Symphony, Santa Cecilia en Roma, entre otras.
Además, se presenta seguido en Londres con la London Philharmonic.
EPTA Piano Journal - Spring 2007 - Written by Malcolm Troup
This exemplary recording came the closest I have ever heard to capturing the spirit of the “Hats off, gentlemen a Genius!" Brahms as he first appeared at the door of the Schumanns' home in Düsseldorf and, if so, explains why Schumann asked him to hold his thunder until he had summoned Clara to hear this new pianistic phenomenon. Jerome Rose captures to perfection the majestic tempi, the lush orchestral sonorities, the abrupt changes of mood, the daredevil leaps of the young Brahms intent on piling Ossia cut Pelion - one mighty gesture after another - enough to put any lesser pianist off his stroke. Rose held it all together allowing it to expand organically from one end of the movement to the other. Not a detail escaped him: neither the elegantly shaped Db section in the development (through to the return of the main subject in the flattened supertonic) or his innate adjudication of exactly the right amount of weight to differentiate Brahms' pianistic 'songs' from their accompaniment. What he did with shifting nuances to confer its dolcissimo character on the Poco piu lento passage beggared belief and can only be compared to his genial soave inflection in Var. 12 of the Handel-Variations. The slower the piano became as it changed from the unutterably tender Andante molto espressivo ppp to Adagio, the more miraculously he maintained the onward flow of the music which all too easily can sag into stagnation. Then the Scherzo burst upon the scene with a lusty gallumphing tempo suggestive of the louche Hamburg Reeperbahn where the young Brahms was employed to entertain the clientele. But Rose's fleetness of finger never slackened and the pp molto leggiero could not have been bettered. The dark colours of Rose's inexhaustible palette had us breathing the air of other planets in the transformed Rückblick that followed.
Once into the Finale, we had another demonstration of Rose's rapid-fire alternation from clipped to sustained, ffto pp, with only seconds to spare. Noteworthy, too, is the sonorous gravitas he achieves in his rolling arpeggiations - a sine qua non of Brahmsian piano writing - both here and in the Handel-Variation No. I3. The molto agitato semiquavers gave us a foretaste of the whirlwind Presto (or should we sayPrestississimo) which lay ahead, once the German patriotic college-song had Been got out of the way, and before the music resumed its grandiose march to the finish. With the punctilious trills of Handel's theme, starting dutifully on the upper note, we know that we are in for a fastidious display of the mature Brahms, determined to hold his waning passions in check while showing off his consummate craft in the art of variation. Splendid as they are under Rose's impeccable fingers, Brahms had the example of Beethoven firmly in his sights - not only in his 'Diabelli' but also the fugue of the 'Hammerklavier' the thick textures and ending of which it so clearly resembles. But whereas the Diabelli- Variations are at the same time antiquarian as well as daringly experimental, those of Brahms are, for all their virtuoso demands on the performer, academic - a sort of 'quod erat demonstrandum' putting the variation-form in its place, so to speak, if not on the shelf. Jerome Rose seems to sense this in his playing of them - both masterly and restrained at the same time. What makes it such a joy, however, is the effortless way in which his brain, rather than his fingers, seems to be playing with these ingenious patterns. So often what one gets in the 'Handel' is a sensation of honest sweat expended in a worthy cause - here Rose adopts what amounts to a ludic style which from Variation 14 to well-nigh 25 provides a classic lesson in how to lighten the touch, underplaying the density of Brahms' textures, while retaining all his genius. Indeed these recordings serve magnificently to chronicle the two sides of Brahms' genius - the firebrand younger Brahms of the Sonata, with whom both the Schumanns fell ill love, and Brahms the neo-classicist of these retrospective Variations. Could it be that a certain falling- off in drive and volume in the build-up to the last two pages of the Variations - needful to balance the witty discussion of the theme which preceded them - somewhat dampened this reviewer's enthusiasm?
Piano News - March/April 2007 - Written by Carsten Dürer
Jerome Rose, Paul Badura-Skoda und Annie Fischer - drei vollkommen unterschiedliche Pianisten mit Neuveröffentlichungen alter, aber nicht allzu alter Einspielungen auf dem CD-Markt: grandiose Hörerlebnisse!
Genau kann man das Aufnah¬medatum dieser Gesamtein¬spielung der Zyklen “Années de Pèlerinage", der Wanderjahre von Franz Liszt aufgrund der fehlen¬den Angaben im Booklet nicht be¬stimmen. Doch, da these Einspie¬lung bereits 1975 den “Grand Prix du Disque" der Ungarischen Franz Liszt Gesellschaft mit Sitz in Buda¬pest erhalten hat, sprechen wir von einer Aufnahme vom Beginn der 70er Jahre. Der amerikanische Pia¬nist Jerome Rose hat gut daran ge¬tan, diese Gesamteinspielung nun nochmals - digital überarbeitet - herauszugeben. Denn zum einen ist es tatsächlich so, dass in den ver¬gangenen Jahren immer wieder Teile dieser Zyklen in ein Liszt-Pro¬gramm eingefügt auf CD erschei¬nen, nur seltenst aber die komplet¬ten Zyklen eingespielt werden. Zum anderen aber ist die vorliegende Einspielung eine, die Jerome Rose auf der absolut pianistischen Höhe zeigt. Wie er die Musik Liszts, ihre Virtuosität einerseits, die Lyrik and Trauer, die Düsternis and Freude darzustellen versteht, zeigt, dass er sich mit Liszt sein Leben lang be¬schäftigt hat - auch zu diesem Zeit¬punkt. Schade nur, dass Rose - und das hört man sogleich - keinen bril¬lanten Flügel zur Verfügung hatte. Extrem hart and klirrend klingt das Instrument im Diskant, etwas muf¬fig in den Mitten. Dennoch weiss Je¬rome Rose auch aus diesem Instru¬ment famose Klänge zu zaubern, ihm Weichheiten in den Petrarca¬Sonetten zu entlocken, es aufbrau¬sen zu lassen, wenn der dramatische Höhepunkt von “La Vallée d'Ober¬mann" erreicht wird. Überhaupt scheint Rose vor allem an der Durchsichtigkeit and Darstellung von Liszts Leidenschaft, umgesetzt in Klaviermusik, zu liegen denn an virtuoser Selbstdarstellung. Wie in¬tensiv klingt da das mit viel Ruhe angegangene “Sposalizio" oder das andächtige “Angelus". Jerome Rose zeigt sich hier als Pianist, der hinter die Noten sieht, der Liszts sensible Seele zu verstehen scheint. Und so ist diese Gesamtaufnahme ein gran¬dioses Beispiel aus der Hochzeit ei¬nes Pianisten, der immer noch aktiv ist. Schade, dass über ihn und die Aufnahmen selbst keinerlei Infor¬mationen im Booklet enthalten sind.
Gramophone - February 2007 - Written by Jed Distler
Pianist Jerome Rose's liner-notes cite his youthful impression of "the eternal youth and fervour" with which Arthur Rubinstein played Brahms's F minor Sonata in his sixties. Maybe today's twenty-something pianists similarly will respond to the sixty-something Rose's big-boned, impassioned interpretation. He dives into the outer movements' declamatory phrases and gnarly textures as if his life depended on it, and imbues the central Scherzo movement with infectious swagger and lilt. He shapes the Andante espressivo in large, flexible yet cohesive arcs, and does so with the Intermezzo as he anchors the long-lined phrases by firmly articulating the underpinning funeral march rhythms. There are occasional instances of over-pedalling plus a few "notes that got away" that make me wonder if Rose records long takes in order to keep the music's energy up and the big picture in focus. If so, more power to him. In the Handel Variations, Rose's effortlessly effected transitions, fluid tempo relationships and astutely proportioned rubato reveal that a seasoned, experienced Brahmsian is in charge. He sometimes varies his voicing on the repeats in a manner more organic than wilful, much as how one perceives the horizon at different times during the day. And certain unorthodox touches prove convincing, such as Rose's unusually slow and subjective Variation 19 (marked vivace). Yet I'm also bothered by the pianist's heavy-handed articulation of Variation 1 and the final variations, his tendency to rush note values in Variations 13 and 14, plus the valedictory fugue's overly insistent, pounded-out passages. While other pianists more successfully fuse power and finesse in these works (Arrau, Katchen, Ax, Hatto and Rösel), Jerome Rose's Brahms still conveys undeniable communicative immediacy, abetted in part by Joseph Patrych's excellent engineering.
International Piano - January/February 2007 - Written by Julian Haylock
What a relief to turn to Jerome Rose in Brahms's epic Third Sonata, who tantalisingly conveys a sense of surging emotions barely restrained by the music's complex emotional logic. Not since Julius Katchen's all-encompassing mid-1960s account for Decca (the 1949 version doesn't relax with such glowing contentment) have I felt so acutely aware of the dichotomy between surging restlessness and supreme calm that lies at the heart of this glorious work. The same extraordinary sense of inevitability, of a pianist totally at one with himself and what he wants to say, spills over into the Handel Variations, which radiates bonhomie throughout even the blackest of printed terrain. It would have been useful to have a separate track for each variation, especially for so rich and emotionally multi-layered a performance. Highly recommended.
American Record Guide - November/December 2006 - Written by Paul L. Althouse
Brahms's greatest piano sonata with perhaps his best set of piano variations. In the sonata I was struck again and again by how well Rose has gauged the wide variety of style in the piece. The opening has just the right strength and hesitation to suggest weight and effort; the lyrical sections (second theme of 1, II, and IV) have just enough rubato to be tender and touching; the scherzo has just the right spring; and so forth. The best I can say for this performance (and it's saying a lot) is that it is constantly interesting and fascinating. Just to keep myself anchored to reality, I listened also to Kissin's recent recording of the sonata. He has, as we know, Special Fingers; and in complicated, difficult passages, his playing is cleaner and crisper than Rose's. But make no mistake, Rose has more than enough technique to play these pieces, and his playing brings you to admire Brahms rather than his fingers. The Handel Variations are no less fine. The many moods are superbly caught, and the piece holds together uncommonly well. As in the sonata we can note other pianists who have their trills and passage work a little cleaner, but Rose's musical understanding and view of the large picture are as fine as any. His playing commands our interest, so I am happy to recommend this enthusiastically.
Fanfare - November/December 2006 - Written by Michael Ullman
In one of my favorite passages, Nietzsche, who usually philosophizes with a hammer, tells us that the modern world has to learn to pay homage. Jerome Rose has no such problem. In his notes to this disc, he tells us that one of the greatest musical experiences in his life came when he was 16 and listening to the second movement of Artur Rubinstein's then recent recording (1959) of Brahms's Third Piano Sonata. The effect on Rose was "hair-raising," unforgettable. He then goes on to suggest that he was the right age to listen to this piece by a 20-year-old composer.
I am not sure that is entirely a compliment. The piece is typically clangorous, almost uniquely so in Brahms's oeuvre, and almost shockingly dramatic. Some of its most appealing themes unfold over a hyperactive left hand, thumping repeated chords. And yet, as I listen - particularly to Rubinstein's recording, but also to recordings by Julius Katchen, Nelson Freire, and this new one by Jerome Rose - I hear a piece that consistently surprises, that leads in unexpected directions, that is the product not only of a young composer eager to shock and impress, but of a restless musical intellect sincerely seeking new paths. Sometimes, in Brahms, we hear a struggle between passion and intellect; at others, their seemingly perfect reconciliation. Here, the surface is stormy, perhaps too stormy at times, and yet the sequence of thoughts is intriguing.
That's how I hear it anyway. Rose plays the piece as boldly as anyone does, but nearly, to the extent of the Rubinstein, his rendition is able to bring out the melodic interest in the first movement, the hair-raising passion of the second, and the almost zany rhythmic qualities of the third. And so on. Rose is a major pianist in my book, a thoughtful virtuoso. If I still prefer the Rubinstein - well, I know it so much better. Rose plays with power, precision, and care. His Handel Variations is, of course, much milder than the Sonata performance, and he is equally skilled at evoking its grace and neo-Classical shapeliness. So I am pleased to add these performances to a small group of Brahms recordings I consider especially eloquent and convincing.
PIANO NEWS - Germany - November/December 2006 - Written by Anja Renczikowski
Thanks to his self-founded label Medici Classics, Jerome Rose has once again, in addition to his various pedagogical activities, come to the consciousness of piano lovers. Known as a Liszt specialist, he recently also released recordings with music of Schumann, Beethoven, and Schubert: expressive and with his own vision. This is also what his Brahms interpretation sounds like. The dynamics and rhythm are handled in a generous, spontaneous, and flexible manner - and yet, or exactly because of it, his personality shows through.
New York Sun - July 18 2006 - Written by Fred Kirshnit
Every generation has its "last Romantic," a pianist who captures, to an extraordinary degree, the windswept spirit of the late 19th-century Lisztian camp. Josef Hofmann was the first last Romantic, bringing into the 1930s and '40s the wisdom of the previous century. A decade later, Vladimir Horowitz followed suit. The 1960s brought Artur Rubinstein, who learned from masters who learned from masters of the original stripe. And in more modern times, the last Romantic was the cult figure Shura Cherkassky.
Jerome Rose might be considered the last Romantic of our own age. A Liszt specialist, he was known in his youth as a formidable advocate for the golden age's most virtuosic piano music. Later, he became a scholar and eventually founded the annual International Keyboard Institute & Festival at the Mannes College of Music. The festival, which features no less than 28 concerts over two weeks, opened Sunday evening with a recitalist none other than Mr. Rose himself.
His appearance did not go unnoticed: The hall was bursting. Fans sat on the floor, stood at the back, even perched cross-legged atop some of the spare pianos in the room. All was in place for a superb recital. But the recitalist started off on the wrong foot. The leonine Mr. Rose presented the opening work, Mozart's Sonata in C minor, K. 457, as if it were written by some minor acolyte or epigone of Liszt. Stylistically anachronistic, the performance was also surprisingly inaccurate: Entire passages were seemingly uttered extemporaneously and fingered cavalierly. I feared it was to be a bumpy night.
Thankfully, Mr. Rose righted the ship immediately thereafter. With the following work, the world premiere of "Intermezzo" by Paul Schoenfield, the pianist employed both printed music and a page-turner, and appeared to reproduce the score, even the occasional minor second that rendered this otherwise melodious music discordant, faithfully.
Once Mr.Rose plunged headlong into the Romantic, he was in steady waters. Curiously, there appeared to be a direct ratio between the degree of technical difficulty and Mr. Rose's facilities with a particular piece. This unique recitalist soundly traversed Robert Schumann's notoriously devilish Sonata in G minor, Op. 22. He made child's play of many of its most difficult passages, producing a limpid and powerfully drawn rendition.
For better or worse, everything about Mr. Rose — his aesthetic, his style, and his sporadic shortcomings of dexterity — came together for a memorable reading of Chopin's Four Ballades. Yes, all four were played in order, even though the composer never intended for them to be offered as such. How Mr. Rose chose to perform these magnificent essays will certainly create controversy, and that is a good thing for music that depends so much on its frisson. He insisted on living on the edge throughout, creating generous slathers of rubato, heart-stopping pauses, big dynamic contrasts, and runs and trills begun just slightly after their downbeat.
If hearing all the notes in their proper place is your cup of tea, then you will probably not care much for Jerome Rose. But if the tingling sensation of the unexpected in your spine is the reason you come to hear such emotional music, then you could do much worse than a program by this necromancer who celebrates the Romantic pianist as the kissing cousin of that other emerging artist of the 19th century, the circus performer. For me, these daring experiments were mighty as a rose.
New York Times - July 18 2006 - Written by Allan Kozinn
The International Keyboard Institute and Festival is the biggest of Mannes College’s back-to-back schedule of summer programs. It runs for two full weeks, with master classes, lectures, demonstrations and recitals open to the public every day from 9 a.m. to about 10 p.m.
Audiences are usually packed more tightly into Mannes’s concert hall for the keyboard event than for the college’s other festivals (which examine Beethoven, contemporary music and the classical guitar. There is even an official T-shirt (for $20) in the lobby.
Jerome Rose, the festival’s founder and director, gave the opening recital on Sunday evening in a program calibrated to his strengths, which include the sonic heft, broad gestures and grand scale of Romanticism.
Even so, Mr. Rose began with two works from outside the Romantic repertory, which isn’t to say that he recognized such a distinction. He played Mozart’s Sonata in C minor (K. 457) as a full-fledged Romantic score with a big, strong tone that made its textures sound thicker than they are. With that tonal weight established, proportions of all kinds inevitably change. So while Mr. Rose’s dynamics were essentially those of the score, their effects was magnified to Lisztian proportions.
Paul Schoenfield’s “Intermezzo” (2002) is a graceful, slowly building rumination in a language so conservative that it could almost pass as a lost Chopin work. That was how Mr. Rose played it, and it was an approach that worked once you accepted that Mr. Schoenfield, always an eclectic composer, was intent on pursuing an unequivocally nostalgic notion here.
Mr. Rose closed the first half of the program with a thundering account of Schumann’s G minor Sonata (Op. 22) that put the music’s audacious outbursts into high relief, but didn’t skimp on its gentler qualities, like the singing melody line in the Adagio. Similar qualities — with a greater emphasis on poetry and lilting themes than on thunder, though there was some of that as well — enlivened the four Chopin Ballades, which Mr. Rose played after the intermission.
European Piano Teachers Journal
- Winter 2005 - Written by Malcolm Troup
Already well-known for his matchless interpretations of the two Liszt Concertos and Totentanz with the Budapest Philharmonic on MONARCH CLASSICS, not to speak of his Transcendental Etudes on the same label, we have here Jerome Rose's final word on the subject of Liszt's supreme masterpiece, the Sonata in B minor, flanked by two of Liszt's most virtuoso creations, the Don Juan Fantasy and the Mephisto Waltz - for those who can bring it off, the equivalent of a pianistic triathlon. For long, the Sonata was considered a trophy recording - a status symbol for all world-beating virtuosi to covet - hence the reams of discs which abound. But Rose's version does not belong to this arriviste breed - rather it is the distillation of a lifetime's experience of playing a work to the point where the work becomes a rich surrogate for that life itself- a musical equivalent, minus the sensationalism, of what Oscar Wilde set out to explore in his story of Dorian Gray. The two, Rose's life and Liszt's sonata, have become as intertwined as a hand in a glove though whose the hand (Rose's?) and whose the glove (Liszt's?) have, considering the extraordinary aesthetic symbiosis achieved, become a moot question.
Where most pianists run amok with so many temptations to excess, Rose's long-breathed line and infallible sense of timing let everything fall into place as in an epic narrative. From the forebodingly long-drawn-out Wagnerian trombones of the opening Lento assai, he presents his five thematic protagonists, each set apart within its own time-frame - enough to identify it, leaving aside the melodic profile, in whatever guise it recurs, even when the motivic work is obscured in figuration. And yet these stammered cells with their respective pregnant pauses, once made known, can take off in the "sempre forte e agitato" at a speed-of-light and fluidity beggaring belief. Even the daunting octaves which follow cannot abate this forward drive and, for all their jagged passion, are as clean, accurate and scrupulously pedalled as any I have heard. Rose gives no quarter, unlike those pianists whose lack of long-term planning sags inevitably into sectionalisation, so goal-oriented is he in achieving Liszt's targets, from each of which he opens out to us a new landscape as fresh and challenging as the one before. The power and grandeur of his chordal-playing, so beautifully captured in this recording when it bursts upon us in the Grandioso or later in the Adagio, makes us hear homophony and polyphony as a pair of archetypal dualities which, like diatonicism and chromaticism, vie in their Faustian struggle for the soul of this sonata. Nowhere is this more starkly conveyed than in the alternating block-chords and pleading recit of the slow movement-an anvil chorus taking turns with a disembodied soprano voice.
A whole book could also be written about Rose's art of the transition - always concealing the seams of what for perfunctory pianists soon become sections - as when he veils with pedal the delicious melting into the Andante sostenuto in which he gives full value both to the turns, to the remonstrating Ieft hand, to the generous (sometimes overgenerous) arpeggiations and, above all, to the pearly portamenti which he shakes out of his sleeve with such consummate grace.
The Reminiscences of “Don Juan” - once considered the ne plus ultra of the 19th century pianist's bag of tricks – begins as if the Meyerbeer of Les Huguenots rather than Mozart had been its composer- no opera giocosa this but "grand opera" delivered on the "grand" piano in Rose's best "grand manner”. Indeed the opening verged on Grand Guignol with its denunciations from beyond the grave and sinister sliding octave scales, both diatonic and chromatic varieties, which must have served Liszt as the initial Mozartian inspiration for his own thundering interlocked octaves. In the same way, the duet lay-out of the middle section ("La ci darem la mano"), as well as giving the gallery something to whistle, allows Liszt, with Rose close behind, to take off to alternate extremes of the keyboard to maximum effect. Between them, they prolong the foreplay and postpone the consummation of this courtly seduction scene by endless roulades in alt., each one more corruscating than the last. At last, voices and bodies couple together in a tender Allegretto, soon to be curdled into a minor mode to herald a terrifying chromatic nemesis. With a flick of Rose's wrist, Liszt turns love (Var.I) into its opposite, war (Var.II) marked by military marches and swagger. It is at this point - bedevilled by the right-hand's scales in thirds - that tempo and tension somewhat slacken at the expense of the build-up to the Presto. For all that the Presto is flawlessly executed, some of the devil-may-care abandon is thus lost. But by the time the Commendatore puts in his last call for repentance to the miscreant Don, we are on our feet cheering Rose to the rafters.
Meanwhile Mephisto has been suffering reverses quite long enough! Now he mounts Rose like a Haitian voodoo deity, driving him to ever more risky feats of pianistic tight-rope-walking. If anything, it is with Rose's piano, rather than with Rose himself, that I would split hairs - the Es in the middle range of the keyboard seem to be pulling their punches which, for a piece trading so much on that pitch throughout, is a serious matter. But no such trifle can deter Rose, who surely by now has all but sold his soul to Mephisto, from bringing the whole farrago to a breathtaking photo-finish - never once relinquishing his relentless three-in-a-bar!
Maybe one could conceive of Rose playing all of this better in heaven (if not in hell), released from earthly ties and tribulations, but for this earthly coil one can't imagine anyone doing these three masterpieces greater justice than in this sumptuous performance where grandeur and finesse are mixed in equal parts.
San Diego Arts - November 2005 - Written by David Gregson
To describe La Jolla's Athenaeum as an "intimate" performance environment would be an understatement. Many La Jolla living rooms are larger, and, in fact, some of these local living spaces get used for serious concerts from time to time. While the Athenaeum's Spanish-Renaissance-style structure, which has commanded the corner of Girard and Wall Streets since 1921, looks plenty large enough, the portion most often employed for piano recitals is the small "rotunda" wing added to the main building way back in 1957. In those days the majority of the space was rented by the City of San Diego for the operation of a branch of the public library.
Athenaeum recitals are high among the potent joys of the cultural life of our city, and they certainly do not get any better than last night's program offered by pianist Jerome Rose, an artist possessing both superb taste, a poet's sensibility and a virtually flawless technique. But, when you watch him, he appears to be all business. Many lesser artists toss their heads about in feigned ecstasies and raise their arms dramatically into the air like high-speed construction derricks. Rose sticks to the task at hand. He played all his selections sans score, and if he made a single mistake all evening, it does not merit mention. What impressed was the tremendous degree of his involvement in and understanding of the music he was playing. For those who do not know of his extensive career as a recording artist, I have provided a link to his website above (just click on his underlined name) and have appended an artist biography download to this review.
Nowhere during this nourishing program was I so impressed as during the two throw-away encores (simply announced as "A Chopin waltz" -- and then, "Another Chopin waltz." ) These appear to have been the Waltz in A minor ("Valse brillante"), Op. 34, No. 2 and Waltz in A-Flat ("Valse brillante"), Op. 34., No. 1, although I am only positive about the A minor one. I could have listened to this kind of thing all night -- his feeling for the composer is evidently so thoroughly ingrained. The music breathes exactly as it should -- beguiling, glistening, haunting, seductive. It's impossible to heap enough praise.
Rose began his recital with yet another item unlisted on the printed program, Schubert's E-Flat Impromptu, Op. 90 (please don't ask me the Deutsche number! D.899 maybe?), and continued on with the very serious Schubert Sonata in C Minor, D. 958, a piece that tries to emulate Beethoven's sonatas here and there, nowhere more tellingly, I think, than in the crazy rhythmic hesitations of the third-movement Scherzo. At their most intriguing, both Beethoven and Schubert seem to be experimenting with form in their works, and to get all the disparate parts into some coherent whole must always be a challenge for any performer. Rose managed to tie everything together without so much as the bat of an eye or the drop of a bead of sweat. He might have been "channeling" the composer, everything was so persuasive and made so much sense. He followed this up with a lovely traversal of Chopin's Ballade No. 3 in A Flat Major, Op. 47.
Never a great Liszt fan myself, I am usually suspicious of Liszt specialists, but not Rose. He seems to see into the heart of the matter. I was not surprised to find him playing Liszt's Vallée d'Obermann from Années de Pèlerinage," Première Année: Suisse (No. 6) (try typing that little title from memory!) because this is one of those truly wonderful works where the composer seems to be searching for something in the finest 19th-century Byronic manner. Rose even prefaced his performance with a brief reading of a poem by Byron -- that great Romantic doomed and suffering lost soul, always questing, always posturing and showing off -- and who also managed to become the Elvis Presley of 19th century literature!
Then, in an apparent effort to burn down the Athenaeum, Rose tore through Liszt's Mephisto Waltz, No. 1. Being in a small room hearing works like these is overwhelming -- a little like being in Disney Hall for Mahler's Resurrection Symphony.
- August 2005 - Written by Bryce Morrison
Plenty of dazzling moments, as befits a virtuoso, but fine musical sense, too. Jerome Rose, who won first prize in the 1961 Busoni International Piano Competition (a competition notorious for not offering first prizes), has returned with a vengeance, recording many of the greatest masterpieces of the repertoire. His most recent offering is of three intimidating examples of the virtuoso repertoire and it is greatly to his credit that, although passionate and sincere, he is less inclined to leave his personal stamp on the music than to share his sense of Liszt's quality.
Rose hardly recreates the Sonata in its first audacity (it was considered incomprehensible and unplayable until Horowitz took it so formidably in hand) but sees it in a lucid, modern perspective, never labouring his points but balancing sense and sensibility with enviably clarity and assurance. In the Don Juan Fantasy he may be less athletic or sure-fingered than, say, Earl Wild or Bolet, but his playing could hardly be more clearsighted. There are dazzling moments (the velocissimo plunge just before the final blaze) but overall you end feeling refreshed and elated rather than exhausted or temporarily impressed by a more forced
or hectic approach.
Oddly, Rose refers in his notes to Liszt's 'many Mephisto Waltzes' (there are four, and the fourth is incomplete) but if he holds the first Waltz's diabolic frisson at arm's length his performance is never less than dextrous and musicianly. Medici Classics' sound is warm and natural and this is very much a record for those who continue to regard Liszt as possessing 'too much of the tinsel and the drum' (Clara Schumann).
Pianist Magazine London
- July 2005 - Written by Tim Stein
Jerome Rose, the esteemed American pianist and teacher, was a student of both Leonard Shure (himself a student of Artur Schnabel) and Rudolf Serkin, and is a faculty member of the Mannes College of Music. He brings a lifetime's experience to this new Medici release of music by Liszt. At one time Liszt's B minor Sonata, the highlight of this disc, was deemed too difficult by far for most pianists even to attempt to play in private, never mind to play it for public consumption. Now, though most pianists have it as a standard work in their repertoire, few manage to marry successfully the huge technical and musical demands of a one-movement piece that lasts almost half an hour.
Rose, however rises to almost every challenge. Like Liszt himself, Rose seems to offer an underlying musical logic that propels the music forward from first note to last. It is a powerfully argued performance devoid of ego and artifice. but at the same time offering its own unique perspective. Perhaps there have been more hair-raising performances from the likes of Horowitz, Richter and Argerich, and more subtle, introspective readings from the likes of Arrau and Brendel. But any performance that can shed new light on a masterpiece such as this deserves to be heard, especially when coupled with truly virtuosic performances of the Don Juan Fantasy and the first of Liszt's Mephisto Waltzes. Warmly recorded (though with a touch of steeliness in the upper registers), this is a disc to he highly recommended.
Fanfare Magazine - May/June 2005 - Written by Paul Ingram
The Sonata from Rose is big-scale, a virtuosic approach to what remains a fearsome challenge. The sight of those notes, crammed into the measures on the page, is always daunting. Rose presents a valid third way, to go with Brendel’s cerebration and spiritual control, and Richter’s great, spur-of the moment fantasy. Rose has lived with the work for a lifetime, but on the day he has decided to abandon caution. This virtuosity isn’t flashy: it’s dark, and steely, with no trace of unctuousness for the big tunes. The percussive chords are brutal in the extreme. It’s as though Rose has found some tormented Romantic literary background for the work. There are more effortless versions in the catalog, but Rose wrestles manfully, and the sense of struggle seems apt, if sometimes fierce. The fugue is demonic, and for Rose, this masterpiece is about the unbearable realities of life rather than an essay in cool formal innovation. Not a safe first choice, but well worth hearing by those who think they know the Sonata. The cumulative effect of this approach conveys courage, rather than insensitivity.
For the huge Don Juan fantasy, Rose does his best to grow a third hand, as all pianists must. The Mephisto Waltz receives a serious interpretation, raising the stature of the disc. The last three minutes of the Waltz are terribly difficult to sustain, but by then Rose is swept away in the kind of meaningful, technical control that compels the musical attention. Devilry, not circus antics. Good stuff.
EPTA Piano Journal - Spring 2005 - Written by Malcolm Troup
Jerome Rose is a supreme Classicist by training and by temperament: proportions, balance and restraint are his watchwords. That is no doubt why he was not fully prepared for Schubert's shooting his bolt - a rare example of musical premature ejaculation - in the first 14 bars of his C minor Sonata D958 before settling into less challenging routines. In 1828, when Schubert first came to terms with his rightful status as heir to Beethoven, it was still not easy for him to aim at the Olympic heights of Romanticism (which was all about mountain peaks) rather than the Elysian fields of Classicism where he had been content to gambol previously. The trappings of Romanticism, which Beethoven had embraced, came to Schubert from outside, predominantly from the opera house of Weber and Rossini, where he had had little success. It had been a question of introducing the odd purple patch of thunder-and-lightning or `Wolf's Glen' until, like his idol, he could begin to interiorise the real Romantic agony. As it is, it takes him a whole four octaves to achieve the same ascent from C to Ab that it had taken Beethoven less than one octave to accomplish in the theme of his 32 Variations in c minor which had served Schubert as a model. In D958, it is still difficult to give these sudden spasms their due so it is only after Jerome Rose leads us into the lovely countersubject that he is once more in his element. At his Schubertian best, Rose has a knack of avoiding the bar-line by walking off with it as if it were a present to be unwrapped in his own time. The results here are deliciously melting but in other contexts, - say the Scherzo of D979, this tendency to sectionalise comes between us and the forward flow of the music. But let's not cavil in view of the riches spilling over on every page: the spooky chromatic bass-line, for one, as it slithers and slides back into the recap and later brings the movement to a defeated close with a four- against-three beat cross-rhythm to shatter what little fortitude remains. The Adagio (a rare tempo-marking among these later sonatas) is more early-Beethoven than the first movement for all that people say and Jerome does it to perfection as also the Scherzo with its odd 3,4,5 phrase structure and the ghostly hunt of the finale.
As if the piling-up of fermata and general pauses isn't enough for Schubert, we could almost describe D959 in A major as the `comma' sonata for the number of `breaths' introduced for the purpose of singling out phrases or even single bars - a `tradition' on the verge of becoming as nagging a mannerism as the mesa de voce in `authentic' Baroque string-playing. Fortunately, Rose keeps a tight grip on this and, in any case, the lordly opening of the Allegro would hardly offer up its secrets without it. The first page or two of the development has much in common with D960 (bar 173 to the end) but whereas Rose's bright objective tone works a treat in D959, it quite misses the veiled luminous quality of D960 which it spells out too literally. The Andantino again found Rose in top form, frightening the living daylights out of us in blackest F# minor before vowing vengeance in recit. No wonder that the opening section returns with a triplet frisson now embedded in the rnelody in token of what we have been through. A sheer delight in Rose's knowing hands was the ingenuous little Ländler, passing itself off as a Trio while still coquettishly reminding us of the Sonata's mighty opening motto. Likewise the Rondo finale was Schubert and Rose at their reciprocal best - straight-sailing Gemütlichkeit, but for some F#/C# minor squalls midway. Its headlong closing Presto was a marvel of crispness and clarity although, to my taste, the last few ff bars can never be grand enough to counter the preceding prolixity.
The glorious D960 was made to order for a pianist like Rose who has the uncanny art of getting every note of a chord to register audibly, even at pp level, without sacrificing the line of the song. Both in the triplets of the theme's restatement in the exposition and in the following triplet climax of the development, Rose's drive was undauntable. It may seem a contradiction in terms to say that the Andante sostenuto, pp practically throughout, could have done with more tonal contrasts and p subito like that of his inspired slide from C# major to C major. The lilting finale smoothed all our cares away but, after so much sublime pianism, could we not throw restraint and even accuracy aside for once and let passion rip in the final Presto?
Finally, it would be doing this excellent recording an injustice if I were to say that it is the "Wanderer” Fantasie by which it will be remembered the longest - perhaps because it was the work I happened to put on first. But the fact remains that it is one of the finest performances to come my way of a work that has been neglected just because its exorbitant technical demands conspire against its musical transcendence, couched as it is in a Biedermeier style looking back to Hummel rather than forward to Liszt. For all that, it so fascinated Liszt that he made two versions of it - one for marginally simplified solo piano and the other better known for piano and orchestra. But here we have the luxury of the full-blooded original played by a master-pianist who has long since established his credentials as a consummate Schubertian.
- January 2005 - Written by Russell Platt
The year’s best CDs, in alphabetical order.
Issue of 2005-01-17
Schubert, “Winterreise”— Recordings from two utterly different tenors illuminate Schubert’s desolate cycle… Jon Fredric West (on Medici Classics), with Jerome Rose at the piano, harks back to an age when hefty Wagnerian voices tackled this piece with unabashed emotion.
EPTA - Winter 2004 - Written by Malcolm Troup
For a performer to be wholly at one with another performer’s interpretation is a phenomenon little short of miraculous but that is what happened to me when I sat down with my critic’s cap on to listen to Jerome Rose playing Op.109. And, as if to prove the miracle scientifically by dint of its duplicability, lo and behold the same thing happened in Op.110! Only in the opening Allegro of Op.111, after its grandiloquent French overture and a bass trill as finely articulated as the drum-roll before the Day of Judgment, was Sturm und Drang’s “last stand” allowed to get the upper hand over Jovian majesty, with sudden accelerandi threatening to devour each semiquaver grouping and making the difference in tempo of the second subject unduly notorious. Even before the Arietta had soothed away this last outburst of pianistic hubris, Rose had laid the first movement’s plagal cadence to rest in a hum of bass vibration to match the Arietta’s ethereal filigree. Rose led us through each diminution which followed with an Olympian logic which defied any further earthly backsliding – grace had finally won out over gravity, to use the words of Simone Weill.
To make an inventory of plus-points would risk reducing this act of magical recreation to a commonplace: one could dwell on Rose’s powerful but never overpowering bass sonorities, his admirable restraint in curbing any tendency to crescendo when none such is called for, the wonderful evenness of touch in Variation 3 (Op.109), the timeless effortlessness of his double- and triple-trilling, the piano subitos scrupulously oberved, the hairsbreadth nuances in timing, the ineffable way Rose let the harmonies of the variations speak without ever trying to overload the topmost note, the inner-directed separating and rounding off of phrases in the development of the first movement of Op.109, the gloriously unhurried entrance of the fugal subject in the bass in Op.110 and the strength of mind to follow the musical impulse wherever it might lead.
At the risk of doffing my critic’s cap in sign of total submission, or having it wrenched ingloriously from my head for failing to find fault, I must declare that this was playing, like Beethoven’s music itself, born of a lifetime’s experience with an inherent rightness about it that precludes arguments and banishes doubts. Every contour of the music's course is picked up by Mr. Rose’s unfailing ear (in real life the first thing one notices about him for its imposing dimensions), lovingly traced by his searching musicianship before being given its final epiphany by his infallible fingers. All pianists and piano-teachers should set this recording alongside their Schnabel, Arrau and Kempff as establishing a new 21st-century gold standard of Beethoven-playing at its finest!
Music & Vision - August 2004 - Written by John Bell Young
There are those who think of Schubert as an early romantic composer who churned out one lovely and memorable tune after another. But the facts suggest something else entirely. Indeed, what drives virtually every one of his works, whatever their particular métier, is the complexity of their harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary. But beyond the formal organization of the notes there is something disturbing that lies beneath, giving voice to the extraordinary angst of a tormented soul and an enlightened thinker.
In his newly released survey of the magisterial posthumous sonatas, Jerome Rose, an immensely authoritative pianist, leaves no stone unturned in his search for musical substance. Indeed, Mr. Rose is no lightweight, contradicting an approach towards Schubert’s piano music that was once considered as acceptable as it was stylish.
Mr. Rose dismisses any idea of Schubert as an idle dreamer or vapid tunesmith, revealing him instead as a composer whose aesthetics embrace conflict as the prevailing raison’ d’etre, yielding as much to darkness as much as to light. Mr. Rose is a musician who not only recognizes but also delivers Schubert’s wanderlust with just the seriousness of purpose it demands. Never failing to dig deep, he refuses to marginalize even so much as the full value of a structurally significant upbeat (witness the opening bars of the A major sonata, where he illuminates and fortifies the eighth note upbeats en route to the following measures).
His readings are fascinating for several significant reasons. Indeed, his penchant for exploring the darker side of Schubert’s troubled spirit is a welcome interpretive antidote to the customary and usual superficial readings that make a meal of every melody. Unlike Schnabel, for example, whose equally substantive interpretations strive to communicate joy, Mr. Rose is interested in Schubert’s essential pessimism, and in the immanent critique –the argument, if you will -- his compositions make on their own behalf. The compositionally codified Alpine schwung that Schnabel (and later, Walter Klien) depended upon to elicit Schubert’s peculiar charms is not, for Mr. Rose, the central focus in music that is as endearing as it is psychologically terrifying. From this perspective, Mr. Rose, whose ability to bring compositional issues into such intense focus is utterly remarkable, bears much in common with Rudolf Serkin, and to a certain extent, Alfred Brendel.
Witness, for example, his magisterial command of the closing Allegro of the C minor sonata, one of Schubert’s last. A rondo in the form of a tarantella, it is an enormous work that would break down utterly in the absence of a taut and strictly perpetuated rhythm. Its cross currents rely on close intervals to suavely articulate its ghostly ride across bar lines, breaking occasionally into larger intervallic structures (the always sunny major sixth), as if to come up for air, or perhaps a final breath. In sustaining rhythmic tension without compromise or wayward rubatos, Mr. Rose takes advantage of those larger intervals to effectively punctuate the music’s rhythmic profile. This kind of strategic planning, though indispensable, is also the very thing that allows a savvy artist to both exploit tension and deliver Schubert’s message powerfully and in tact, as it were.
In both the Wanderer Fantasy and the great B flat Sonata – surely among the finest readings on record in Mr. Rose’s stunning performances – it is precisely such tension, so admirably realized here, that grips the listener and won’t let go. In a work so often played by competent pianists it is a rare occasion to detect some new thread or idea heretofore unexplored. Yet Mr. Rose does just that. No doubt his understanding Schubert is in part inspired by his intimate knowledge of Schubert’s vocal literature. Witness his account of the first movement of the B flat Sonata. In less experienced hands it more often than not becomes little more than a dreamy caricature of itself, demeaned to a petty pianistic songfest and unctuously comfortable entertainment whose sprawling melodies are delivered with polite reverence.
Not so for Mr. Rose, who will have nothing of that sort. On the contrary, for him, its perspectives are bleak, its outlook dark, and its melancholy immense. And yet it redeems its nobility precisely by virtue of its struggle to transcend any superficial beauty. Thus does Mr. Rose refuse to make of it a slack, linear experience, preferring instead to harvest the counterpoint for its agonizing dissonances, so deftly interiorized, for the cumulative rhythmic power that lends it compositional inevitability.
Save for Brendel and Schnabel, more satisfying and intellectually cogent performances than these would be hard to come by. What more can one ask for?
New York Times - July 15 2004 - Written by Anthony Tommasini
It seems that the respected pianist Jerome Rose, a senior faculty member at the Mannes College of Music, just can't get enough of his instrument. During July, a slow time both in the New York concert season and at the college, he runs the International Keyboard Institute and Festival, which he founded in 1999.
The event brings together student pianists, noted artists, important pedagogues and historians for two full weeks of recitals, master classes and lectures, all open to the public. The sixth annual festival, which has attracted some 100 participants, kicked off Sunday night with a recital by Mr. Rose. The auditorium at the Mannes College, on West 85th Street in Manhattan, was packed.
Mr. Rose traditionally claims pride of place by opening the festival. Still, it must have been challenging to play for an audience in which there were pianists, both fledgling and the famous, everywhere.
Though Mr. Rose built his reputation with virtuosic Romantic-era repertory, he began his program with one of the most elegantly subdued works of the late Viennese classical period: Schubert's Sonata in G (D. 894), written in 1826.
For me it was not the best match of repertory with artistic temperament and pianistic approach. In the haunting opening movement, which begins with a ruminative theme in boldly sustained chords, sometimes hardly a ripple of activity, Mr. Rose seemed always to be holding back, and that cautious quality permeated the other three movements, even the Menuetto, the work's most hardy music. Also, he stretched and shaped Schubert's melodic phrases with an extremely free sense of rhythmic rubato, which, again to my taste, turned fussy.
After this 40-minute sonata, Mr. Rose ended his recital with another of the same length: Brahms's early, stormy Sonata No. 3 in F minor. The young Brahms had orchestral floods of sound in mind when he composed this work, and even on a modern Steinway the writing pushes the piano to its limits of power and sonority. Seeming much more at home, Mr. Rose tore into the work, fearlessly playing the opening flourish, with its leaps from thunderous low octaves up to brawny outbursts of chords.
The festival continues with daytime workshops and master classes and nightly recitals by artists ranging from the brilliant and adventurous Marc-Andre Hamelin (tomorrow night) to the ageless virtuoso and showman Earl Wild (Saturday night), through July 25.
New York Sun - July 13 2004 - Written by Adam Baer
Classifying the quirky personalities that feed the unique world of Virtuoso Piano Wonkdom - White loner physicist-types, obsessive packs of Asian graduate students, eccentric trustafarians ripped from the script of "The Royal Tenenbaums" - could make for an interesting program of psychological research. For those interested in making their own investigation, an annual migration of the species is currently under way to Mannes College of Music. The fourth International Keyboard Institute and Festival was launched Sunday by its esteemed founder, the pianist Jerome Rose, and continues through July 25.
As in festivals past, Mr. Rose plays host this summer to a quirky roster, including the Canadian virtuoso pianist-composer Marc-Andre Hamelin (July 16) and Juilliard performance scholar David Dubal (July 19). But this year the festival celebrates Steinway's 150th anniversary and therefore turns slightly more mainstream with the appearances of Her Majesty Alicia de Larrocha (in a master class on July 20) and the Beaux Arts Trio's octogenarian founder Menahem Pressler (July 24).
To kick things off Sunday, Mr. Rose presented a piano-recital appreciation with a meaty solo menu of Schubert's beloved G Major Sonata, D. 894, and Brahms's early, more obscure, and youthfully rambunctious Third Sonata, in F minor, Op. 5. This was a piano concert for piano lovers, and Mr. Rose is one of the finest poets of the kevboard.
But what makes Mr. Rose so beloved in the piano world is his ability to perform music phenomenally well with the affectations of connoisseurship - he plays expertly for experts. Part and parcel of that, perhaps, is a certain lack of showmanship. That is what has always kept him on the edge of a major performing career, and that is what made Sunday's concert so hard to connect with despite the ovations.
In the Schubert, a forlorn and often serene work, Mr. Rose's signature effects appeared in the form of extremely even-voiced, soft-touch chords, patiently timed dotted rhythms, inhumanly long vocal lines, and supple rubatos. His orchestrational method of keyboard tonepainting rendered repetitive left hand figures as the dark retorts of a cello section, while dancing righthand pirouettes the playful shimmers of a sweet violin band.
The playing was pristine - tone rich, beautifully contoured, often on the slow side with transparent color gradations at every deceptive minor key landing. But it was playing for pianists and the hermetic band of elitist critics who love them, and I wanted more strangeness, more direct communication. The work was too much of a classical sculpture or epic poem, too distant, when it could have been more personal.
At its conclusion Mr. Rose blurred the overtones of an improvisational run of chromatic notes, the sort of novel turn I would have liked to see more of. By then, however, it was too late to be touched.
Mr. Rose's way with Brahms was different, at least at the beginning. He attacked the opening gestures, flaunting clangorous punctuations before introducing a sharply staccatoed bass figure that drove home the first movement and the chordal tunes that make it sing. Singing became an obsession, however, in the slow second movement - in the melodies, there was too much beauty for beauty's sake. And the great, gradual climax of joy made of grandly resonant pedal tones felt a bit too premeditated.
More honest was the jolly scherzo - here was young Hamburg Brahms, he of drinking games and prostitutes. But the dreamlike intermezzo and its deliberate fog left me cold. The free-wheeling Lisztian quality of the last powerfully played movement realized the work's youthful, exaggerative qualities as well as possible, but - like much of the rest of the concert - its calibrated perfection was isolating.
INTERNATIONAL PIANO - July/August 2004 - Written by Peter J. Rabinowitz
Jerome Rose, a former pupil of Rudolf Serkin, is most famous for his Liszt (in fact, he taped the Liszt arrangement of the Wanderer Fantasy years before recording the original). No surprise, then, that his Schubert is both extroverted and forward-looking. These are arguably Schubert’s most substantial works for the piano; and they get large-scale, authoritative performances marked by bold rhythms, gruff tone and am often thrilling sense of high-romantic drama - made more thrilling still by a structural understanding that gives the points of arrival a stunning sense of inevitability. Although Rose is certainly capable of haunting reticence (the Adagio of the Wanderer Fantasy is a good example), there's no attempt here to make Schubert pretty. Accents are often biting (try the opening of the C minor), and Schubert’s more daring harmonic experiments (for instance, to the tortured dissonances in the first movement of the A major) are brought to the fore. It’s not that the playing is relentless, much less brutal: Rose inflects the more lyrical passages with a disarming rubato (try, for instance, the second theme in the first movement of the C minor), and there’s a sunny brightness to the finale of the B flat major. Nor, for that matter, is Rose excessively earnest: there's plenty of rough-and-tumble play in the third movement of the A major. But those who turn to Schubert for naive simplicity - much less for the kind of spiritual contemplation found in Richter's provocative performances of the B flat major - will certainly find Rose on the assertive side; and while Rose hardly scants the details (in particular, details of articulation), his readings can fairly be called plain-spoken, especially compared to Paul Lewis’s magnificently eventful readings of the A major and B flat major sonatas that showed up last year. Certainly, no one will accuse Rose of either diffidence or fussiness. Not everything works. Although dynamic shading on a local level is often arresting, long-range dynamic contrasts are sometimes reined in, cushioning the power of the big crescendo passages. Then, too, a touch of stiffness and strain mars some of the repetitious rhythms (say, in the finale of the C minor). All in all, though, these are sturdy performances that should bring some deserved attention to a seriously under-appreciated pianist.
- July 2004 - Written by Phil Muse
Pianist Jerome Rose is at the top of his form on his Medici Classics label in stunning performances of Franz Schubert's Three Posthumous Sonatas and the "Wanderer" Fantasie. The sonatas took the classical piano sonata as far as the form could go before it had to turn in other directions (to literary programs, for example), and the Fantasie opened new directions for, among, others, Franz Liszt.
It's hard to decide where to begin in discussing the "Posthumous" Sonatas, landmarks of keyboard music. Schubert wrote all three within the space of just three weeks in September of 1828, only two months before his death at the age of 31. There is no other instance in music history of so much white-hot creativity in so short a period: even Mozart required three months in the summer of 1788 to pen his three last symphonies, and he was in good health. Schubert, on the other hand, knew he was dying when he wrote the sonatas. While it would be tempting to view them as his deathbed confession, it seems more reasonable to assume that he had a lot of great music inside him that craved expression on paper while there was yet time.
Generally speaking, all three sonatas contend in different ways with a tragic view of life, which was inescapable under the circumstances. Very, very generally, we might characterize the Sonata in C minor, D.958 as the doomed tragic poet of the three, the Sonata in A major, D.959 as the triumphant hero, and the Sonata in B-flat major, D.960 as the enlightened mystic who has moved beyond pain and suffering to a better world. I say very generally because all three deal with tragedy, though it becomes less immediate and more a matter of pain recollected as we move through the Deutsch numbers.
For want of space, I'm going to concentrate on the first, and hardest to love, of the trio, the C minor Sonata. It is the densest of the three, requiring only 30 minutes to perform as compared with 40-plus for D.959 and 960. Alfred Brendel called it "predominately somber, passionate yet icy." From the explosive opening motif, followed by an extended meditation that grows perceptibly darker and more menacing, we know we are in for serious business. There is something sinister about the first-movement development that Rose conveys to us very well.
The second movement, marked Andante sostenuto, begins as softly as a prayer, but this mood is soon swept aside by stormy passages filled with angry outbursts and breaks in continuity that are a trademark in this work. In the middle section, Schubert moves from the C-sharp minor of the opening to a radiant A major, offering us hope amid the disquieting surroundings. The fleet, light-textured scherzo movement provides the briefest respite before we are plunged headlong into the finale, a "death gallop" if ever there was one. As booklet annotator Stephen Wigler rightly observes, even the few moments of transition here do not provide relief: rather, "they are terrifying because of the terrible inevitability of the resumption of the movement's obsessive and driven subject." We sense why the C-minor Sonata is performed less frequently than its companions even as we admire its powerful intensity.
After the Posthumous Sonatas, the glorious "Wanderer" Fantasy of six years earlier comes almost as a "holiday for piano," though its virtuosic demands are very great. Schubert himself broke down in frustration when attempting to play the (very) loud peroration at the end of the finale, although of course this moment is less daunting for a pianist with the immense technical prowess of Jerome Rose. The Fantasy is a marvel of transformation, in which a single highly rhythmical theme is used to link and unify each of the four movements, which are played without breaks. As many years as I've heard this wonderful work, it has a way of coming up fresh in each new interpretation - and never have it heard it performed with more brilliance and conviction than here.
Fanfare Magazine - May/June 2004 - Written by Susan Kagan
As shown in his recent Beethoven CD (Monarch Classics M 20012), Jerome Rose can be relied upon for straightforward, unmannered musicianship. His readings are faithful to the score and without exaggeration; he plays cleanly, and uses the pedal sparingly. The last three Schubert sonatas, like Beethoven’s last three, are profoundly individual in character and expression, and Rose is most successful in those that demand a strong and well-organized treatment. Not surprisingly, then, it is Schubert’s “Beethovenian” C-Minor Sonata, D 958, that seems to best suit Rose’s gifts. The first movement is intense and dramatic, with due attention to dynamic changes and phrasing. (It should be noted that he takes the first movement repeats in all three sonatas.) The magnificent slow movement, in Schubert’s favorite rondo form, with its stormy outbursts between calm returns of the theme, is beautifully played, with the melody singing in the right hand; Rose is especially deft at bringing out that melody when it is woven into the middle range in the final statement of the theme. The wild tarantella of the finale is brilliant—manic but controlled. Rose’s approach is very similar to that of the gifted pianist Paul Lewis, whose recent recording appeared on Harmonia Mundi. The A-Major Sonata also has its forceful moments in the first movement, but generally a more lyrical character prevails (as it does throughout most of the sonata). Rose’s reading stresses the lyrical aspects, and he plays the haunting coda most effectively. In the slow movement, characterized by highly dramatic “storm” sections (but now in a minor key), the pianist evokes the emotional content of the movement very eloquently. The Scherzo is delightfully playful and brilliant, and in the finale, the quasi-fugal section in the episode at the center of the Rondo is played with vivid contrasts between the contrapuntal voices. The B-flat Sonata, which has been recorded by myriad pianists in the last two decades, is somewhat less satisfying. In the first movement Rose seems to have problems with the piano; the left hand is bumpy, the bass trills uneven and muddy, and some notes do not sound—surely problems that could have been dealt with in recording and editing. The rest of the sonata is very good, and the tempos throughout are perfect. Finally, there is Rose’s reading of the “Wanderer” Fantasy, which is everything it should be—technically adept, fiery, meltingly lyrical in the piercing slow movement, and in brilliant command of the keyboard in the fugal finale. This performance of the “Wanderer,” perhaps Schubert’s best known large-scale piano composition, so beloved by audiences and so often recorded, ranks among the best.
PianoNews - May/June 2004 - Written by Robert Nemecek
Rose ist ein Interpret, bei dem sich ungewöhnliche manuelle, Fähigkeiten mit einem feinen Gespür für den spezifischen Ton eines Komposnisten verbinden. Seine bei Medici Classics erschienenen Einspielungen der romantischen Grossmeister Chopin, Schumann und Liszt zeugen von einer geradezu innigen Vertrautheit mit dieser Materie.
Classic FM - April 2004 - Written by Jessica Duchen
FOUR STARS: Distinguished pianist Jerome Rose does justice to Beethoven’s transcendent last words on the piano sonata. Heavyweight, luminous performances.
- March 2004 - Written by Nalen Anthoni
If Charles Rosen is right and Davidsbündlertänze is ‘Schumann's most private and one of his most poetic works', how far may a pianist go to interpret its privacy and poetry? Jerome Rose goes very far to analyse the thoughts of a composer who suffered psychological instability. His rhythm in the ruminative sections, like Nos. 5 and 7, is unusually flexible, thereby unsettling in its inferences. Phrases are slowed or speeded up, and the line is bent and straightened at will, while some of the fast movements are frenetic, and just as unsettling. Rose doesn't disguise the extremes, but the structure is never in danger of collapse because he is always in control. Kreisleriana is private, too, ’the juxtaposition of rage and mystery' (Dr Peter Ostwald) with intimations of madness that shocked Clara Schumann. From an opening movement where agitation is emphasised by his treatment of the sforzandi in the bass line, Rose builds up inexorably to the mystery in No. 6 and the rage in No. 7. He sees these sections as forming a climax that moves from nebulous searching to blazing fury, and the impression of emotion spent in most of No. 8, the finale, is equally graphically presented. There are moments when Rose could play more softly but this criticism is offset by his ability to draw big sonorities without pounding the piano. Both performances are remarkable products of a wide-ranging imagination but they might be too outspoken for some tastes.
Atlanta Audio Society - March 2004 - Written by Phil Muse
Robert Schumann once twitted Chopin with having bound four of his wildest children together and termed the result a sonata. Ironically, the same might be said of Schumann's own piano sonatas. In fact, the greatest challenge facing the interpreter is to make coherent what unity there is in each piece, in spite of the seeming incoherence of the materials. But, as booklet annotator Harris Goldsmith puts it, Schumann "came within a stone's throw of structural mastery," and it is just this tension between aspiration and achievement that makes Schumann so fascinating. He was truly a composer whose reach exceeded his grasp - but what an amazing reach!
Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in his three Piano Sonatas in F# minor, Op.11; F minor, Op.14; and G minor, Op.22. What they require of the pianist is not only demon technical ability, but also the maturity and artistic insight of one who has lived with Schumann. Such an artist is Jerome Rose, and the results are immensely satisfying. Nowhere is the structure more discursive than in Opus 11, but Rose makes the work a plausible whole through a similarity of mood and feeling. The second movement, marked Aria, is a 3-minute effusion of love sentiment reminding us that Schumann had the pianist Clara Wieck - the future Clara Schumann - very much in mind at this time. A rambunctious Scherzo with accents (intentionally) in all the wrong places, shifting rhythms and changing points of attack, is calculated to create hazards for a performer less adept than Jerome Rose.
Opus 14 was termed by its publisher (not Schumann himself) a "concerto without orchestra," and has been trying to live down the tag ever since. Actually, despite the sonata's sprawling dimensions, it is highly idiomatic music that could only have been written for the piano. The best known movement here is the third, an Andatnino in the form of a set of freewheeling variations on a theme of Clara Wieck (Clara, again! The boy couldn't get her off his mind). The finale, conceived with Clara's technical brilliance in mind, is marked Prestissimo possible (as fast as possible), then humorously calls for the performer to play "faster still" (an impossibility which Rose does not fall for).
Likewise, Opus 22 is marked at the outset so rasch wie moglich (as fast as possible), and later on, Schumann calls for acceleration. Towards the end when the opening melody reappears, he marks it "even faster." This time, the man is on the level, and Rose builds the climax of this movement stage by stage with consummate skill. The haunting, long-lined melody of the slow movement, based on the melody of Schumann's song Im Herbst (In Autumn), contrasts effectively with the velocity of the outer movements.
PIANO Magazine - December 2003 - Written by Bettina Neumann
With the classical record industry in crisis, the marketing of stars seems ever more important. But as Bettina Neumann reflects, quality isn’t always reflected in the marketplace.
As anyone with long experience of teaching young pianists can attest, many outstanding talents go largely unrewarded in the musical marketplaces of the modern world. Now in his sixties, Jerome Rose has had a perfectly respectable career, but he is very much more than a respectable pianist, and very much less than a household name, even in his native United States. It is an unfortunate accident of fate that his latest release, of the last three Schubert sonatas [Medici Classics M30072], should coincide with Perahia’s of the same repertoire (though with Rose you also get a highly commendable account of the Wanderer Fantasy). I confess that while his name was certainly familiar to me, this is the first of Rose’s recordings to come my way. And very impressive it is too. Here is a musician and pianist of uncommon authority, with an equal command of small-scale detail and large-scale structure. His tonal palette is wide-ranging, his sound, even at its biggest, is full of grandeur and intensity, while remaining a stranger to stridency, and his rhythmic vocabulary is comparably varied and deftly applied. Very occasionally he allows the meter to get the upper hand and the phrase falls victim to the beat, but on the whole there is a suppleness and asymmetry of melodic inflection without which the songfulness of Schubert can never be fully released. There is a keen understanding and projection of harmonic rhythm, and an exceptional sensitivity to the motive power of textural variety. But this checklist of virtues should not give the impression that Rose is an ‘intellectual’ or academic pianist. Far from it. He is a player of powerfully communicative instinct. The playing is consistently expressive, dramatic and tender by turns, and like Perahia, he captures the emotional ambiguity, the joy and latent anguish of the composer’s inner world, with unfettered but unshowy eloquence. Having noted that he has also recorded the three Schumann sonatas and the last three Beethoven sonatas (but not yet the three Brahms sonatas) I managed to get hold of the latter [Monarch M20012], which is equally impressive. This awe-inspiring trilogy marks the apex as well as the end of Beethoven’s career as a sonata composer and requires musicianship and technique of the highest order. Rose’s accounts can hold their own in the highest company, surpassing a goodly number of far more famous players. Pianistically even more commanding than in the Schubert (the seamless pianissimo trills near the end of Op 111 outclass a number of his most eminent ‘rivals’), Rose is closely observant of the composer’s markings but never pedantically so. And here we find no idiosyncrasy at all. There is nothing whatever to distract from the music, whose transcendent stature is never in doubt.
Pianist Magazine - August/September 2003 - Written by Calum MacDonald
Jerome Rose is a distinguished pianist of experience, intellectual stature and real insight. He plays these masterpieces with utter dedication and the kind of sovereign, omnicompetent technique that it is impertinent to praise. (So instead I’ll enter a small criticism, of the apparent heaviness of his touch – though this may really be an effect of the rather close recording, and in any case it’s only a minor distraction in performances of such sincerity and conviction.) I especially liked the way he delineates the spacious and purposeful architecture of the finale of op. 110, and he well conveys the spiritual aura that enwraps this music – most of all in the finale of op. 111 – without losing any of the necessary sense of thrust and physicality in the fast movements. But competition is never more cut-throat than in Beethoven’s late sonatas; or to put it more grandly, this is a field tilled by the gods. It’s entirely understandable that an artist of Rose’s quality should wish to measure himself against his peers, by performing and recording these works – perhaps even now the very summit of the repertoire, not for difficulty but for humanity and sublimity. Yet the hard question, is, can he – or many other equally god-gifted pianists – make these sonatas yield anything that we have not already had revealed to us in the recordings of Brendel, or Gilels, or Kempff, or Solomon? In the presence of such giants, even very, very good performances like these seem, well, a bit surplus to requirements. But if you’re untroubled by such thoughts and simply want great music superbly played, you can buy this disc with confidence.
American Record Guide - July/August 2003 - Written by Steven J. Haller
This isn't new; it was recorded in 1993 and is listed in my seven-year-old Schwann as a Vox set coupled with the Transcendental Etudes (reviewed below). Jerome Rose has now started up his own label, Monarch Records, and there's even a website, http://www.jeromerose.com where these recordings and others may be found. I'm sorry it took so long for me to make their acquaintance.
Certainly this is a much better account than the Artisie with Norman Krieger reviewed a couple issues back, though his Totentanz at least offers Rose some competition. Opening with the familiar Dies Irae plainchant in the stentorian horns, Rose at once compels attention with his command of the slashing chords and crisp glissandos, then settles down for a poetic statement of the theme in more lyrical guise. Through all the shifting moods that follow, Rose demonstrates an admirable flexibility and consummate skill, expertly fielding the trenchant diablerie. Yet I was most impressed with his deeply felt treatment of the pensive Variation 4, just as his whirlwind account of the ensuing fugue had me on the edge of my seat. All through the piece it is clear that conductor Saccani was of one mind with Rose, and I am pleased that for once Variation 6 resounding in the horns was not dragged out interminably, setting up the powerful closeout.
Likewise in the E-flat Concerto Rose gives a commanding account of the opening pages, with due respect to the maestoso marking, as sonorous as you could wish; yet phrasing seems quite ex tern pore just as it surely was with Liszt. In fact, I found it rather refreshing that even in a standard like this you could never be sure how he'd play out the next phrase--yet it is always at the service of the music, an illuminating treatment of the solo line. In the quasi adagio section, Rose is deeply affecting, allowing the music to unfold in timeless fashion; indeed, I could imagine Liszt at the keyboard, lost in thought and no doubt gently swaying from side to side. Rose nimbly traverses the fanciful allegretto vivace, yet exhibits an enchanting delicacy, bringing out the humor of the piece as if with tongue in cheek, with the aid of the insistent triangle. But it's clear from the return of the opening statement and the closing allegro marziale animato that Rose is not concerned merely with effect, even in this music that fairly cries out for such treatment; there's fire and flash aplenty, but there is weight as well, though even Rose can't resist that last sprint to the final bar.
The A-major Concerto is a far more reflective work that calls for a certain restraint, and the unhurried opening pages set the pace. Rose enters gently, reverently, yet without ever losing sight of the long line, soon joining with the solo cello in a rapt colloquy. As the music gathers in strength, Rose gives it the grand treatment, building to the bold and brassy climax some six minutes in. Yet clearly for Rose the emotional center of the concerto is the tempo del andante that follows, deeply felt and satisfying. With the return of the full orchestra (allegro deciso) the Budapest trombones go all out; and following a gratefully lyrical reading of the songful un poco meno mosso, Rose and the Hungarian players join forces for an effective close.
Given that the recording dates back some years, a trace of hardness in louder passages may be forgiven; and although the top end of the piano can be a mite clattery (as in the opening glissandos of Totentanz), the deep bass more than compensates. This is not a airing of the Liszt concertos that explores hidden meanings in every phrase like Richter or goes all out for visceral excitement like Janis; these are quite simply exemplary performances at a low cost that will make a splendid introduction to the music, and the excellent notes by Richard Freed are almost worth the price of admission.
Fanfare - March/April 2003 - Written by Michael Ullman
Jerome Rose was a student of Leonard Schure, who was a student of Schnabel. That direct, though segmented, connection with my favorite classical pianist interests me, as it did Fanfare’s Peter Rabinowitz, whose interview with Rose appeared in the January/February 2003 issue. Schnabel’s playing provoked in me, as in many others, a rapt attention to the overall structure as well as the details of a piece, even as lengthy a piece as the “Hammerklavier” sonata. That attention depended of course on the pianist’s handling of each phrase, as well as his instinct for rhythmic structure. At his best, Schnabel illuminated every note while eschewing local effects. He made the moment significant while simultaneously allowing us to escape it through its relationship to the whole. Of course, Schnabel wasn’t particularly interested in Chopin, let alone Liszt, whom he used to demonstrate bad music to students. Liszt was nonetheless an early specialty of Jerome Rose, who has newly recorded the four Chopin Ballades. Perhaps Rose’s early repertoire (he’s recently recorded late Beethoven) was his way of dealing with the anxiety of influence, or perhaps it’s just independence.
He shows that independence in his Chopin playing. I hope it is not a sign of intellectual laziness on my part that, although I admire greatly the performances by Pollini, Ashkenazy, Richter, and Perahia, for instance, my favorite performance of the four Chopin Ballades is the first that I knew: Artur Rubinstein’s from 1959, now reissued as part of the Rubinstein collection. That said, I find much of what Jerome Rose does here bewitching: It is in some ways freer, more whimsical, with greater contrasts, than Rubinstein’s. Rose muses a bit on the First Ballade, for instance, pushes the tempo expectantly, and then moves towards large climaxes. Some of his phrases seem to come in bursts. At least in comparison to Rubinstein, he stresses the bold whimsicality of Chopin’s writing, its quicksilver shifts. That doesn’t sound like a Schnabel disciple, yet these ballades respond to many interpretative approaches, and Rose manages to hold each piece together in a satisfying way. He plays the quiet opening phrases of the Fourth Ballade innocently but with just enough of a hint of the energetic development to come. The Fantasy shows, unsurprisingly, a similar technique and approach. Rose’s ballades are convincing performances by a major pianist.
Fanfare - March/April 2003 - Written by Michael Ullman
When I was first learning about classical music in some detail, my like-minded friends and I—all indigent—often focused on inexpensive items like Vox boxes. I discovered Brendel that way, but I know I first heard of Jerome Rose through his Vox recordings of Liszt, recordings many people adored. I had, and still have, a problem listening to Liszt, who seems to me uncomfortably sentimental when he is not being outrageously showy. Transcendental? Bosh, as a Dickens character would (politely) say.
So I never warmed to Rose either. Recently, though, Rose has responded boldly to a lull in his recording career by starting his own record company, Monarch Classics, which so far features his own recordings. Fanfare readers will already have encountered Susan Kagan’s glowing account of Rose’s (and Monarch’s) recording of late Beethoven sonatas, as well as Peter Burwasser’s review of the first of a Jerome Rose Schumann series. With those recordings, and with this second Schumann disc and the Chopin reviewed elsewhere in this issue, Rose has moved into a repertoire that is much more to my taste. I am just now appreciating the depth and range of Rose’s musicianship, his technical facility, of course, but also the disciplined passion of his playing, its nuanced energy, and frequent charm. There’s the almost innocent grace with which he approaches the middle section of the fourth number of Kreisleriana. It is marked Sehr langsam, an indication that Rose takes seriously. His rendition is considerably slower than the equally admirable recording by Pollini issued last year on Deutsche Grammophon.
That is not to criticize Pollini. These short works, and the playful numbers of the Davidsbundlertanze, respond well to varied treatments. Rose’s is notable for its sobriety as well as occasional dash, for the touching poise and restraint we hear on pieces like “Wie aus der Ferne,” and for his vigor and humor on the piece marked “Wild und lustig.” The challenge of these short pieces is not, as with late Beethoven, to illuminate the deep structure of the work while intriguing us with the details. Rather, a pianist needs to express the varied moods— innocently wistful, humorous, exuberant—found here without emphasizing the frequent technical difficulties. Rose is everywhere successful at conveying Schumann’s shifting moods without pulling the pieces apart. This is, in short, a superior Schumann recording, to be placed alongside Pollini’s and compared to old favorites such as the Annie Fischer Kreisleriana. A minor glitch. The track listings go up to 27, but that is only because number 23 has been skipped on the listing. This error shows that Rose, pianist, businessman, scholar, and promoter of good music, is fallible.
Fanfare - January/February 2003 - Written by Peter Burwasser
It is very instructive that these sonatas are presented in chronological order. One hears, with the op. 11, written when the composer was 25, the Schumann signature intact. Here is headstrong emotion and theatricality, a bold and original sense of harmony, and a depth and complexity of texture that now sounds like a precursor to the monster works of the 20th century for solo piano by Boulez, Messiaen, Carter, Barraque, and others. But there is, as well, a certain callowness, or over ambition, that can render the music a bit clattery and even tiresome. Certainly the final movement, which clocks in at 11 and one-half minutes in Rose’s performance, seems to go on forever.
By the time Schumann gets to the so-called “Concerto Without an Orchestra” (the pretentious subtitle was supplied by the first publisher, not the composer), a quality of maturity imbues the music, which has greater cohesion and a more refined dove-tailing of motifs, although it too, in this listener’s humble opinion, seems too long, for all its brilliance. The Sonata in G Minor is a little more than half the length of the preceding two, and this concision is highly welcome, especially as it is accompanied by a profusion of striking melodic and harmonic ideas. This last sonata of Schumann is, both formally and by virtue of content, the strongest of the three.
American pianist Jerome Rose has made the music of Schumann a central part of his repertoire, and the insights and intimacy that he reveals in this voluptuous material are deeply satisfying. He eschews the sort of grandiose, noisy manner exemplified by Horowitz in his famous reading of op. 14, instead offering clarity and rhythmic logic. Rose cannot render the exuberance of Schumann with any particular sense of control, nor should he have to. Because of the miracle of recorded sound, we can dip in and out of this glorious sound world at will, sampling sweet morsels a bit at a time, or tearing into big chunks of rich, gooey cake with ravenous gluttony.
Fanfare - January/February 2003 - Written by Susan Kagan
Jerome Rose displays his strengths as a versatile musician in this new recording of that magnum opus for piano, the three last sonatas of Beethoven. The pianist’s previous recordings (some originally on the Vox Classics label) have concentrated on the Romantic repertoire—Chopin, Schumann, and Liszt—where his brilliant technique has been shown to advantage. The demands of late Beethoven require a good deal more from a pianist in the way of feeling and expression, and Rose meets them admirably. An overall observation is that he follows the score with scrupulous fidelity in regard to dynamics, tempo changes, and other aspects of Beethoven’s expressive indications. (Since Rose was a student of Leonard Shure, and thus a second-generation adherent of the Schnabel tradition, one would hardly expect less.)
Most notable throughout this program is the propulsive energy in the fast movements that characterized Rose’s Schumann disc (Fanfare 19:3). In the opening movement of op. 111, he tears into the Allegro with an almost reckless abandon (but clearly in full control). The contrasts in dynamics and changes in tempo throughout the first movement of op. 109—indeed, throughout all three sonatas—are carefully followed. In the first movement of opus 110, with its meditative character, Rose plays with considerable flexibility of tempo, making the most of the small climaxes and nuances of rubato indicated by Beethoven. He handles technical difficulties with fluent ease; the long trills at the end of op. 111 are seamless; the counterpoint of the fugal sections, and especially the two fugues of op. 110, is clearly delineated. The finale of op. 110 is magnificent, as the pianist moves from the haunting recitative (where Beethoven calls for five changes of tempo within four measures) through the shifts between Arioso dolente and fugue, to the magisterial stretto that ends the final fugue.
In short, this release recalls the virtues of Pollini’s admirable traversal of these works, with even a bit more fire and intensity.
Classics Today - January 2003 - Written by Jed Distler
Casual browsers in search of Beethoven's last three piano sonatas understandably might pass over this release in light of numerous more distinguished versions crowding the bins. However, it's their loss, for Jerome Rose's superb pianism and insightful musicianship easily holds its own in the company of Kempff, Arrau, Serkin, Gulda, Goode, Hungerford, Frank, and most recently, Freddy Kempf. Rose is less concerned with color than Arrau or Kempff: his gaunt, compact sonority and dynamic intensity is closer to Gulda, Frank, and Serkin (the latter with whom he studied). Rose barely pauses between Op. 109's first two movements, and serves up the music in impassioned, flexible paragraphs. The slow-moving chords that make up the variation movement's theme take on the character of a string quartet by way of Rose's focused voice leading. You can argue that the chains of trills don't reach Schnabelean or Arrauvian heights of ecstasy, or that Variation Three's knotty 16th-notes are not so crisply dispatched as those of Gould, Richter, or Goode. But Op. 110 proves no less inspired and detailed through Rose's generally fleet and suave reading. As with Op. 109, Rose also makes a clear distinction between Beethoven's legato versus non-slurred phrasing (second movement, bars 25-26 and similar places).
If Op. 111's first-movement introduction is broad to the point of standing still (the downward suspensions in bars 11 through 13 are static and self-conscious), the pianist's hurling sweep takes Beethoven's Allegro con brio ed appasionato directive at more than face value--and we readily forgive a few untidy moments in the heat of battle. Rose begins the Arietta with hushed concentration, although the momentum slackens as the variations progress, when Rose unwittingly un-syncopates some of the jazzy dotted rhythms (here Pollini's proficiency remains awesome). All told, this release constitutes some of Jerome Rose's finest playing on disc.