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Pianist Charles Rosen (1927-2012)

Known for his performances, he also won a National Book Award

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Some sad news from the weekend, pianist Charles Rosen passed away at age 85. He was born in Manhattan, the son of an architect and an actress, and studied at Julliard when he was seven years old. One of his mentors was Moriz Rosenthal, who had been a pupil of Franz Liszt.

Rosen, in addition to collaborating with some of the finest composers of the 20th century, was also a renaissance man. Among his accolades, Rosen published the “The Classical Style” in 1971, something of a Talmudic disquisition on the works of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. He was awarded the National Book Award for it.

As a renowned writer and lecturer on music who was also a concert pianist of no small reputation, Mr. Rosen was among the last exemplars of a figure more typically associated with the 19th century: the international scholar-musician. If as a writer he was known for aqueous lucidity and the vast, ecumenical sweep of his inquiry, then as a pianist he tended to rate a similar description.

The LA Times added this:

In 2010, Rosen gave a lecture on Chopin, followed by a recital, at the Irvine Barclay Theatre for the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

“He had no notes, nothing,” recalled Dean Corey, head of the Philharmonic Society. “He talked right to you. He loved what he was talking about, and he conveyed that right away. He had a great sense of humor.”

Speaking of Chopin, do your afternoon a favor and listen to him perform (quite stunningly) one of Chopin’s Nocturnes. And if you’re feeling saucy, note how he rolls the chords.

Charles Rosen Dies at 85 [LAT]

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He did a well-regarded Hammerklavier, still recently available for about $7.99 from Sony Classical.


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Pianist Charles Rosen (1927-2012)

Known for his performances, he also won a National Book Award

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