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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 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 [listen -- CD2 track 8, 2:05-3:30]. What more can one ask for?

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


Jerome Rose plays Schubert

M30072 Stereo (2 CDs) 70'54"/64'13" - TT 135'07" 2003 Medici Classics

Jerome Rose, piano

Franz Schubert (1797-1828): Sonata in C minor D958; Sonata in A D959; Sonata in B flat D960; Fantasie in C 'Wanderer' D760



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