Music Composers

Anton G. Rubinstein-Part 5

Huneker on Rubinstein

Other views on Rubinstein are those of the brilliant adn original critic of art and letters, James Huneker. In his essay on "The Grand Manner in Piano Playing," he pronounces Rubinstein the greatest pianist in his long and varied list, and declares that no one could forget the music one heard when the great Russian's lion-like, velvet paws "caressed the keyboard."

Referring to Rubinstein's delivery of the theme at the opening of Beethoven's G Major Concerto and the last page of Chopin's Barcarolle, he compared it to the sound of distant waters, or horns from elfland. He considers Rubinstein the "supreme stylist," and writes:

"It was in 1873 I heard him, but I was too young to understand him. Fifteen years later he gave his Seven Historical Recitals in Paris, and I attended the series, not once, but twice. He played many composers, but for me, he seemed to be playing the Book of Job, the Apocalypse and the Scarlet Sarafan. He had a ductile tone like a golden French horn (Joseffy's comparison), and the power and passion of the man have never been equaled."

"Anton Rubinstein played every school with consummate skill, from the iron certitudes of Bach's polyphony to the magic murmurs of Chopin and the romantic rustling of the moonlit garden of Schumann. Beethoven, too, he interpreted with intellectual and emotional vigor."

The Etude Magazine December 1920





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