CHOPIN Nocturne in F, Op 15 No 1, Polonaise
in A Flat Op 53, SCHUMANN The Prophet
Bird Op 82 No 7, Piano quintet Op 44 (Finale only with Guarneri Quartet),
SCHUBERT Piano Trio in B FIat 98 (Finale
Only) with Heifetz and Feuermann. BRAHMS
Piano Concerto No 1 (Finale Only) Boston Symphony Orchestra, Erich
Leinsdorf, BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No
4 (Finale Only) BSO, Leinsdorf, GRANADOS
Spanish Dance No 5, GRIEG
Elfin Dance Op 12 No 4, DEBUSSY La Plus
Que Lente, RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto
No 2 (Second movement only) with NBC Symphony Orchestra, Vladimir Golschmann
That Arthur Rubinstein was an exemplary pianist cannot be doubted. He was
fascinating to watch usually sitting further away from the piano than many
pianists and lifting his hands with a floppy wrist movement that was typical
of his showmanship. He was a born recitalist, an excellent chamber musician
and quite splendid in many concertos.
He was a delight to conductors and audiences alike. His work with Leinsdorf,
as the two examples on this disc prove, was a marvellous partnership of
understanding as it was with the great Fritz Reiner with Rachmaninoff's Second
and the Paganini Rhapsody.
Highlights are sometimes infuriating but they have potential marketing
advantages. Like many of my colleagues I do not think Chopin was always quite
suited to him and Schumann's Prophet Bird is an awful piece. He copes well
with Schubert's tedious note-spinning. The Brahms is an excellent 'marriage'
between soloist and orchestra teeming with detail. For my taste I would prefer
a slightly quicker tempo and more fire but it IS good. Granados Andaluza
is beautifully realised without the usual ghastly cliches; Rubinstein's Beethoven
was always good with impeccable clarity of fingerwork and with an infectuous
rythmic vitality. Beethoven, the greatest of them all, is here played, as
he should be, with a rugged grandeur. The Coda is both staggering and perfect.
The Schumann Piano Quintet is a sunny work and this recording has been deservedly
admired for years. The Greig sparkles and the Debussy is both evocative and
And so to the central movement of Rachmaninoff's SECOND, the Reiner version
would have been the better choice by far but, nonetheless, this is a typical
performance, thankfully devoid of wallow and mawkishness but, somehow, this
performance lacks something. It seems to have an unnatural urgency.
The 94CD set is going to prove interesting and a welcome legacy to an exceptional
musician. The Beethoven with Leinsdorf is a must. The sound is generally