Music Composers

Anton G. Rubinstein-Part 2

The teaching of this mother, as recorded later by her son, was strict and well-grounded; but she soon felt that in view of his great musical endowment, the boy needed more training than she was able to give him. A guide to this she found in Alexander Villoing, the best pianoforte teacher in Moscow at that time, who, because he loved to mold genius, undertook the gifted child's education free of charge.

Correct Hand Position

In his autobiography Rubinstein says; "Villoing devoted much time to the correct position of my hands. He was most particular in this regard, as well as in the care he bestowed on the production of a good tone. To him, and to no one else, am I indebted for a thorough, firm foundation in technic, a foundation which could never be shaken. In all my life I have not met a better teacher. He insisted on certain details which proved of the utmost importance to me as a student of the piano. A patient, although strict master - the latter quality noless essential than the former - Villoing was soon on such intimate terms with me that he seemed like a friend or second father. He was indefatigible in his instructions. I cannot call them lessons - they were a musical education."

This master had accompanied his pupil to Paris, in view of placing him in the Conservatoire, but being reluctant to part with the budding genius, whom he regarded as his own creation, he never entered him there. Villoing remained the young Anton's only teacher ofthe piano, although he also studied with Dehn, the famous master of harmony and counterpoint, and Marks, the well known theorist.

But genius appropriates from every conceivable source, and Rubinstein never ceased to learn from his own intuitions and from the artists he met at home and abroad. One of the most powerful influences exercised over him came from the Italian tenor, Rubini, whom he early heard in St. Petersburg. Of this great artist he says: "The charm ofhis voice was quite beyond description, and his power of overcoming difficulties was marvelous. He took his listeners by storm. Rubini's singing produced so powerful an effect on my senses that I strove to imitate the sound in my playing."

The Etude Magazine December 1920





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