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Magisterial command

Jerome Rose
plays Schubert -
reviewed by

'... surely among the finest readings on record ...'

Jerome Rose plays Schubert - The Three Posthumous Sonatas and Wanderer Fantasie. © 2003 Medici Classics

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'être, yielding as much to darkness 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).

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Copyright © 2 December 2004 John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA


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