(1887-1982) was born in Poland, became a US citizen and died
in Switzerland. He wrote three colourful volumes of autobiography.
I first heard and remembered him from broadcasts of the 1970s
RCA LP of Saint-Saëns 2 and de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens
. His memory is deeply engraved in the record
catalogue through his much-reissued Chopin recordings. He
envied Horowitz his keyboard technique but ultimately achieved
his own accepted greatness among the pantheon of 20th century
artists alongside Gilels, Heifetz and Oistrakh. RCA accorded
him a Rubinstein Edition.
have here is a well-matched coupling of two romantic concertos
played in live concert by one of the high priests of the
romantic school of pianism. They are in mono and feature
very little hiss yet this achieved seemingly without blunting
the treble aspects of the signal. The tone of piano and orchestra
is not ideally clean but we are
talking RAI broadcast
mono of 47 and 43 years ago. It's perfectly listenable and
the mind soon reconstructs the missing aspects. Indeed the
music-making quickly draws you in. We should remind ourselves
that when he gave these broadcasts in his beloved Italy Rubinstein
was respectively 75 and 77. I am pleased to report that applause
is included in both cases but you must also ‘endure’ a speckle
of coughing. It’s a small price to pay.
case of the Brahms we hear an interpretation of a lyrical
and playful caste of mind. The tragic, though far from absent,
is subordinate but grandeur is not in short supply when demanded.
Rubinstein's Schumann is more stormy and seems more congenial
than his Brahms. Was Caracciolo a more sympathetic collaborator
than Cluytens, I wonder? In any event Rubinstein seems totally
at home and completely and sincerely ingratiating. The recording
of the Schumann also sounds purer in tone than the Brahms – something about
the acoustic, I suspect. The thoughtful and grave way in
which Rubinstein sculpts phrases in the last movement's peroration
at 9:53 onwards is deeply satisfying – one of many such examples.
are on offer from Bettina Schröm and they are well translated