Arthur Rubinstein

Discuss pianists who do not have recordings at Piano Society.

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Arthur Rubinstein

Postby yosukew7 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:13 am

I thought it was quite outrageous that Rubinstein's name hasn't popped up on the list of pianists to discuss here! What are people's thoughts on him?

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Postby juufa72 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:48 am

When it comes to Chopin, hands down the best.
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Postby Lukecash » Fri Mar 06, 2009 12:26 am

Can't help but agree...

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Postby toybox » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:55 pm

Great topic!! 8) There is a two-part autobiography that has been out for a long time (My Young Years, and My Many Years). Rubinstein provides tons of enjoyable insights about his life, though perhaps with a good bit of melodrama. His actor son, John, put together a really good documentary about Rubinstein's return to Poland (I have it on videotape).
I had the great pleasure of attending many of Rubinstein's performances in Washington DC and Boston. He always had an elegant charm about him and immediately connected with audiences. During those years of the 1950s-1980s, most of my fellow piano students were in total awe of Horowitz (whether he was "retired" or making another "comeback"). Like Horowitz, Rubinstein championed a great many new compositions, especially works from South America. Maybe I am the token old guy on this forum, but I do have a treasure load of memories connected with pianists of this golden era.

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Postby Chopinesque » Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:49 pm

I've only listened to Rubinstein's recording of Chopin's Mazurkas. My CD is of very low quality, which is really annoying, and even makes the piano sound slightly out of tune in places, but behind this technical issue, the playing is full of character, rubato, and is really emotional, something that is sometimes lacking in some of the newer virtuoso recordings.

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Postby Rachfan » Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:07 am

Back when I was a kid, Rubinstein was one of the Big Three artists, along with Serkin and Horowitz. (Richter would come along a few years later to make it the Big Four). In those days, Horowitz had withdrawn from public performances, was a recluse, and was mostly known by my generation from some of his recordings. He did, of course, reemerge later on. Serkin tended to specialize in Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert mostly. Although I attended a number of Serkin's recitals and concerts and respected his wonderful abilities, Viennese Classics was just not my thing, as I preferred the Romantics, Impressionists and Late Romantics. And then there was Rubinstein. In my mind, then and now, he was tops. His Chopin was extraordinary. His repertoire also included a good deal of Schumann, Debussy, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Villa Lobos, Szymanowski and others.

I well recall one of Rubinstein's recitals I attended at Symphony Hall in Boston. The ushers have a tradition of ringing bells before closing the hall's doors to late comers. They rang them, but there was no need--every seat in the hall was already occupied. Stage seats were set up around the back and sides of the stage for the conservatory students. The air was absolutely electric, as a Rubinstein recital was an event. Anticipation ran high. When the stage door opened, Rubinstein came out on stage with aplomb to thunderous applause and he took some bows also acknowledging those in the balconies. He was very aristocratic and it was as if he owned the hall. It was amazing to watch. That day he played an early Beethoven sonata, intermezzi and rhapsodies of Brahms, Ravel's Valses nobles et sentimentales, mazurkas of Szymanowski, and a nocturne and scherzo of Chopin. He was in his early 70s then, but played beautifully giving us an inspiring Beethoven, the golden, burnished sound of Brahms, a delightful and poignant Ravel, sympathetic renditions of Szymanowski, and magisterial Chopin renditions.

Rubinstein was imbued with la joie de vie, and played piano in the grand manner. He knew many of the important composers, pianists and pedagogues from the Golden Age of piano. I feel privileged to have seen him perform in person. I'll never forget him.

Last edited by Rachfan on Wed Mar 25, 2009 2:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities." David April

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Postby juufa72 » Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:35 pm

Too bad none of the bigs are of my generation or ever come to Milwaukee. Pretty much Lang Lang is as close as people my age come to greatness (and that is not saying much :wink: :lol: ).

Is Van Cliburn still alive?
Madam, what makes you think that I play with my hands?

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Postby sarah » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:05 pm

juufa72 wrote:Is Van Cliburn still alive?

Yes, he is. I think he's about 74 years old now, and last I heard still performs a limited number of concerts every year.
Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.

Felix Mendelssohn

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