"Rose's Schumann Blooms"
by Nalen Anthoni
If Charles Rosen is right and Davidsbundlertanze is 'Schumann's most private and one of his most poetic works', how far may a pianist go to interpret its privacy and poetry? Jerome Rose goes very far to analyse the thoughts of a composer who suffered psychological instability. His rhythm in the ruminative sections, like Nos. 5 and 7, is unusually flexible, thereby unsettling in its inferences. Phrases are slowed or speeded up, and the line is bent and straightened at will, while some of the fast movements are frenetic, and just as unsettling. Rose doesn't disguise the extremes, but the structure is never in danger of collapse because he is always in control. Kreisleriana is private, too, 'the juxtaposition of rage and mystery' (Dr. Peter Ostwald) with intimations of madness that shocked Clara Schumann. From an opening movement where agitation is emphasised by his treatment of the sforzandi in the bass line, Rose builds up inexorably to the mystery in No. 6 and the rage in No. 7. He sees these sections as forming a climax that moves from nebulous searching to blazing fury, and the impression of emotion spent in most of No. 8, the finale, is equally graphically presented. There are moments when Rose could play more softly but this criticism is offset by his ability to draw big sonorities without pounding the piano. Both performances are remarkable products of a wide-ranging imagination but they might be too outspoken for some tastes.