International Piano - March/April 2014 - Written by Julian Haylock

Beethoven Sonatas: A richly rewarding recital of timeless classics.

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.

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