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ARTHUR RUBINSTEIN COLLECTION: Highlights from the 94-CD Box Set available late 1999.   RCA. RCDJ -63085-2 [84' 19"]
For six months from November each competition winner will receive a copy of this disc in addition to any other of their choice from the RCA catalogue



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 languid.

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 good.





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