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Jerome Rose possesses the ideal sonority for Brahms – seductively rich-toned, with leading voices clearly delineated. The Andante espressivo second movement flows with the infatuating freshness of a youthful mountain stream, while the outer movements emerge with symphonic exuberance as compelling, organic wholes.

In the later ‘miniatures’, Rose’s clear-sightedness allows us to experience more than usual the music’s temporal compression – these are musical worlds in which every note truly counts. There is a divine simplicity about Rose’s playing – no matter how complex and demanding Brahms’s textural writing becomes, he retains his almost impossibly relaxed finger-action, ensuring that nothing is allowed to cloud the supreme clarity of musical thought. In this respect there are fascinating parallels with Wilhelm Kempff’s sparingly pedalled, crystalline lucidity; yet Rose evinces an inner poetic glow that is closer in projection and feeling to Radu Lupu.

Where others adopt a kind of all-purpose musing intimacy in the more introspective intermezzi, Rose is acutely sensitive to Brahms’s instructions, ensuring that Op 118 No 2 is both tender and flowing, while giving extra space to the unbearably poignant Adagio that opens Op 119. The excellent picture and sound quality of the DVD version becomes still more resplendent via the sublime clarity of Blu-ray.

JULIAN HAYLOCK Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing