Charles Rosen passed away on December 9 at age eighty-five. Here is his obituary in the Guardian. I think that Rosen's The Classical Style was the first book on music that I read that really awakened me to how profound music can be. Rosen's book on the Beethoven piano sonatas is one that I constantly refer to. His thoughts on textual issues, tempi, interpretation, form and just about anything else concerning the sonatas are deep, learnéd and wise. His large book, The Romantic Generation, is a spectacular tour of the whole context of the first generation of Romantic composers with insights into Schumann, Liszt and Chopin that you will find nowhere else.
Rosen's skills as a pianist were evident in his performances of classical period music. Here he is playing Mozart's "Turkish" rondo, K. 331. He doesn't rush the tempo. Note also the precise handling of dynamics and articulation. A very intelligent performance:
Here is a very brief snippet of him talking about emotion in Schoenberg:
Here he is playing the first movement of one of my favorite Beethoven sonatas, op 101 in A major:
We are losing a lot of truly great musical minds. Just in the last year Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (probably the greatest lieder singer of all time), Gustav Leonhardt (a truly great harpsichordist and organist), Jacques Barzun (very fine historian with considerable insights into music and cultural history), and now Charles Rosen.