Music Composers

Anton G. Rubinstein-Part 7

Sayings of Rubinstein

In a little volume entitled "Music and Its Masters," many gems from the musical creed of Rubinstein are preserved. He has often been called the subjective artist, and of this he said to his interviewer, "I do not know what people mean by the objective in performing. Every performance, if it be rendered by a person and not by a machine, is ,within itself, subjective. To do justice to the object (the composition) is for every performer a duty, but, of course, each in his own manner, and hence subjectively. How is anything else conceivable?"

"No two persons have the same character, the same nervous system, the same physical constitution. The differences of touch in the pianist, of tone in the violinist or violoncellist, the quality of voice in the singer, the difference of character and disposition in the orchestra conductor, necessitate subjectivity in performance. If the conception of a composition should be objective, there could be but one correct way, and all performers would have to adhere to it. Is there only one correct way of impersonating Hamlet or King Lear? And is it necessary that every actor should ape one Hamlet or King Lear in order to do justice to the object? Therefore I can sanction only subjective performances of music."

Bach (Johann Sebastian) represented to Rubinstein a high ideal in music. In the Well-Tempered Clavichord he found the epitome of that master's greatness. "Its fugues," he said, "are of a religious melancholy, sublime, serious, humorous, pastoral and dramatic character. In one respect are they all alike, and that is in beauty. And then the Preludes! Their charm, variety, perfections and splendor are absolutely entrancing!"

The Etude Magazine December 1920





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