<< -- 3 -- John Bell Young MAGISTERIAL COMMAND
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
[listen -- CD2 track 1, 0:00-0:56].
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
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
[listen -- CD2 track 8, 2:05-3:30].
What more can one ask for?