Classical Music Guide Forums - Monday, July 15, 2013 - Written by Donald Isler

Jerome Rose Recital

It's the middle of July, which means it's time for the International Keyboard Institute and Festival, a very welcome feature of summer for lovers of the piano and its repertoire. Featuring two weeks of two recitals almost every day given by wonderful artists at different stages of their careers, masterclasses, lectures and a competition, it is a significant cultural event in the life of New York City.

Many of the people who attend the Festival are people of major accomplishment in music, teachers, performers and critics. So are some of the students who attend the masterclasses. I met one such "student" before this evening's recital, who came here from England. He has already recorded the Chopin Piano Concerti, will soon perform or record all of the Rachmaninoff Concerti and already has an international career playing recitals. This, to me, sounds like the description of a finished artist, as I am sure this young man (whom I have not yet had the pleasure of hearing) already is.

And then there are the fans of the Festival. At the recital this evening I sat next to a gentleman whom I met last year. He came here again from Colorado because he said, he "wouldn't miss" the Festival. He also said he is a big fan of Jerome Rose, the Founder of the Festival, because he so successfully shows what "wild and crazy guys" Beethoven and Schumann were. (Schumann was the featured composer on Mr. Rose's recital last year.)

As an aside, hearing Mr. Rose, a distinguished member of the piano faculty of Mannes College, perform a Beethoven recital at Mannes reminded me how many other members of its faculty have also been important Beethoven pianists. One thinks of Richard Goode, Claude Frank, Bruce Hungerford.....

Mr. Rose, a student of Adolph Baller, Leonard Shure and Rudolf Serkin, has been before the public for over 50 years. He is a strong musical personality, still has remarkable physical strength, and he never takes the easy way out. Though there was some rushing in this program there was a great deal to admire. Mr. Rose knows these difficult works very well, and whether everything was technically perfect or not the shape of phrases was always clear, as was the architecture of each movement. Some highlights:

In the last movement of the Pathetique Sonata one could appreciate the playful as well as the threatening elements, and the beautiful A-Flat chorale theme.

In the first movement of the Waldstein Sonata the drumroll leading to the recapitulation was very exciting, as was the way Mr. Rose "lassooed" the end of the C Minor section of the last movement.

Notable in Les Adieux were the noble, dignified playing of the introduction, in the first movement, the pensive mood of the slow movement and the exuberance at the end of the last movement.

The first movement of the Appassionata successfully conveyed feelings of urgency and even ruthlessness, though as usual, Mr. Rose's tone was never harsh. The slow movement was beautifully played, and was followed by a dramatic transition into the last movement, which piled one climax upon another to the end. It was also noteworthy what a huge sound Mr. Rose produced at the conclusions of the first and last movements.

A gracious and flowing performance of the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata served as an encore, with Mr. Rose thanking the capacity audience for coming, and inviting them to attend the Festival's many other events.

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