Music Composers

Anton G. Rubinstein-Part 3

Personal Memories

In my much-prized interview with Rubinstein, during the period of his concerts in Philadelphia, in the season of 1872-1873, he spoke of Rubini, and told me how he had passed hours in listening to this Italian tenor's voice, with its purity, sweetness and power, and in trying to reproduce its timbre in his playing. "It is only with labor and tears bitter as death that the true artist is developed," he said. "Few realize this, consequently there are few artists."

The radiant splendor of the tone Rubinstein succeeded in producing, its infinitely varied nuances, from the softest whisper of the human voice to  the fullness of big orchestral effects; the combined flexibility and strength of his touch, never can be forgotten by those into whose consciousness these qualities have once entered. "I play as a musician, not as a virtuoso," he once said, and every note he sounded made the sympathetic listener recognize the musician, "by the grace of God."

He had phenomenal hands, with perfectly trained muscles, and employed them to give utterance to his lofty inspiration, controlled by ta titanic will and intellect. In his marvelous crescendos and other dazzling effects he was aided wonderfully by his artistic use of the pedals.

His magic tones, of which I had not thought the piano capable, rang in my inner ear, as they still ring, when I met this wizard of the keyboard and talked with him. His Bach performances had peculiarly taken possession of me, forhe examplified in them what my teacher, Carl Gaertner, had endeavored to impress upon me - the romantic Bach. Imagine my consternation when the great, much-revered Rubinstein actually compelled me to play for him the Bach Prelude and Fugue from the Well Tempered Clavichord, Book 1, No. 15. Although I played my worst rather than my best, he was gracious enough to say I had the right idea of Bach, and he would now show me how the idea might be expressed.

The Etude Magazine December 1920





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