PianoNews - November/December 2008 - Written by Hans-Dieter Grünefeld

A Subtle Beethoven Interpreter and a film concept with aesthetic justification

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.

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