Jerome Rose plays Brahms, Blu-ray (2012)

by | Sep 1, 2012 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

Jerome Rose plays Brahms – Live in Concert, Blu-ray (2012)
Program: Sonata No. 3 in f, Op. 5; Piano Pieces, Op. 76; 2 Rhapsodies, Op. 79; Fantasies, Op. 116; 3 Intermezzi, op. 117; Piano Pieces, Op. 118; Piano Pieces, Op. 119
Performer: Jerome Rose, piano
Producer: Julie Kedersha
Studio: Medici Classics M60069 [1/17/11] (Distr. by Naxos)
Video: 1080i HD color
Audio: PCM stereo
All Regions
Length: 144 minutes
Rating: ****
74-year-old Jerome Rose might not have attained the status of some other more famous American pianists like William Kapell, Byron Janis, or Van Cliburn, but he has been steadily hovering the background for many, many years, creating performances of masterly intuition and often profound understanding. Making his professional debut with the San Francisco Symphony at age 15, he won the Gold Medal at the 1961 Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition. He has appeared with noted conductors and orchestras all over the world, and currently is a member of the Faculty of the Mannes College of Music.
This is his sixth DVD for Medici Classics, following issues of Schubert, Beethoven, Liszt, Schumann, and Chopin. I must say that for a man of his age, and the fact that Brahms’s piano music makes extraordinary demands from one extreme end of the keyboard to the next, he has retained a large degree of dexterity and no loss of subtlety in his pianism. While I have heard many more exciting renditions of the Third Sonata Rose certainly knows this finicky work very well and is able to convince us of its importance.
The two Op. 79 pieces are among the most well done on this recital, fervent and passionate, while exhibiting crisp articulation and well-judged pedaling. If I still prefer Radu Lupu it’s only because his Decca CD is the finest ever done of most of this music. The same holds true of the mature piano sets. Rose captures the spirit of the music very well, suitably autumnal and wistful without being sentimental. There are some places where stumbling occurs with a spattering of missed notes, but these are few and far between. Overall this is quite an impressive recital, done live at the Yamaha Artists Services facility in New York in front of a small crowd, no more than 40 or so from what I can see on the video. Production wise the camera work is very good, showing us three primary shots—audience center, right elbow even with the keyboard, and over the performer’s left shoulder elevated. This gives good coverage of the pianist, amply showing us his skill and technique. A fine recital giving us all of Brahms’s mature keyboard music.
[Blu-ray, so why only PCM 2.0 audio? How about 5.0 DTS-HD MA? Could have even given us 96K or 192K/24 bit 2.0…Ed.]
—Steven Ritter

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