Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
Ricordanza
Posts: 1742
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:58 am
Location: Southern New Jersey, USA

Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by Ricordanza » Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:25 am

This article from the Forward cites the opinion of Leon Botstein, music director of the American Symphony Orchestra, that Anton Rubinstein is "forgotten" because of anti-Semitism. Is that accurate? Or is Rubinstein simply one of many second-tier 19th Century composers whose works are rarely performed because, well, he's considered second-tier (or lower). Here's the article--you can form your own opinion:

https://forward.com/culture/406838/anto ... 3-headline

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 17735
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by Lance » Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:59 pm

He hasn't been forgotten by me! The brothers Rubinstein were both fabulous musicians, pianists, composers. I have collected their works voraciously. I'm not sure about the antisemitism aspect. They were highly lauded and appreciated during their lifetimes. I can't recall if they converted to Christianity or not, like Mendelssohn.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

Rach3
Posts: 582
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by Rach3 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:41 pm

Ricordanza wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:25 am
Or is Rubinstein simply one of many second-tier 19th Century composers whose works are rarely performed because, well, he's considered second-tier (or lower).

Thanks for the interesting post and article.

FWW, for our time, I would guess attractiveness of the music would be the key, not anti-semitism.

Josef Hofmann used to play his 3rd and 4th PC’s, Oscar Levant the 4th, and the 4th I see occasionally, but rarely, programmed today.I’ve heard all 5 PC’s ; have recordings of Nos. 4,5 ; both 2nd or 3rd tier for me.

I have also heard one of his symphonies and a string quartet. Cant recall either. Given Lance’s enthusiasm, I’ll have to explore those genres of Rubinstein again.I have not heard his “Demon” opera , nor the breadth of his other works as has Lance.

6 Etudes for Piano ( the YT numbering is off ) heard today . A one-hear for me, only the 2nd I’d heard before. The 2nd makes a rare, recital encore appearance today ; the 1st and 6th nice, Tchaikovskian :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQgISop ... FKxlI71a65\

His 2nd Cello Concerto is 2nd tier , but attractive, and perhaps an example of his effort to inject a “ Russian mode “ as the article says, without the more overt, exotic nationalism of The Five. Worth hearing, I believe :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxWtisbDYTg

John F
Posts: 19967
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by John F » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:52 pm

A couple of Rubinstein's short piano pieces used to be popular as encores. One was titled "Kamennoi Ostrow," and Artur (not Anton) Rubinstein used to tell of a letter he received asking him to play it in a coming recital. He replied, "I regret I will not be able to perform my 'Kamennoi Ostrow' because unfortunately I am dead." [signed] A. Rubinstein

The Valse Caprice may be a little more familiar, though not much. Quite a few recordings of it were made early in the last century, including this one by Ignaz Paderewski in his last years when, frankly, he should have stopped playing:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRX1Ks0t_i0

There's an orchestral version which Toscanini conducted in an NBC Symphony broadcast.
John Francis

Rach3
Posts: 582
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by Rach3 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 8:10 pm

John F wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:52 pm
A couple of Rubinstein's short piano pieces used to be popular as encores. One was titled "Kamennoi Ostrow,"
I believe that may be his piano Etude No.2 in C major.

There is also the ubiquitous "Melody in G."

Ricordanza
Posts: 1742
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:58 am
Location: Southern New Jersey, USA

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by Ricordanza » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:24 am

Lance wrote:
Sun Jul 29, 2018 12:59 pm
I can't recall if they converted to Christianity or not, like Mendelssohn.
Lance, as noted in the article, Anton Rubinstein's family converted to Christianity:
Yet Rubinstein barely identified as Jewish; his family voluntarily converted to Russian Orthodoxy when he was a child. Such a conversion, Botstein said, “was the entrance to having a public life in Russia.”
In Mendelssohn's case, IIRC, it was his father who converted.

John F
Posts: 19967
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by John F » Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:20 am

From his music, you wouldn't know that Rubinstein was Russian. Nearly all the famous Russian composers were nationalists, with roots in Russian folk music, but not Rubinstein. That may be a reason why, after his death, performances of his music have decreased until now they're next to nothing.
John Francis

Lance
Site Administrator
Posts: 17735
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:27 am
Location: Binghamton, New York
Contact:

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by Lance » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:12 am

For me, Anton's Rubinstein's greatest compositions heard thus far is his Piano Concerto No. 4 in D Minor, Op. 70. It has received some glorious performances now available on CD. Raymond Lewenthal's was one of the finest ones, recorded by Columbia on LP and issued on a less-effective transfer on an Elan CD, but now apparently not available on any CD. Cherkassky, Ponti, Hamelin and others have made some good recordings of the piece. Of Rubinstein's five piano concertos, only the Fourth has the greatest number of recordings no doubt because of the grandness of the work and its musical concept, totally unlike the others.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

THEHORN
Posts: 2567
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:57 am

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by THEHORN » Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:59 pm

I have the Naxos recording of his large scale "Ocean" symphony , which is about the length of a Mahler or Bruckner symphony , and airports to evoke the various world oceans and seas . It's certainly an interesting and even different work, but is somewhat repetitious . It's still well worth hearing, though . It's in no fewer than seven movements !

John F
Posts: 19967
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by John F » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:22 pm

Not to forget the live performances of the 3rd and 4th concertos by Josef Hofmann, Rubinstein's pupil and one of the great pianists of the century.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_nQBrAmfV8


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxoCIz5wVP0
John Francis

Rach3
Posts: 582
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by Rach3 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:33 pm

His Symphony No.5, Op.107 pleasent, but a one-hear :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEdh7McTmyY

Rach3
Posts: 582
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by Rach3 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:20 am

THEHORN wrote:
Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:59 pm
I have the Naxos recording of his large scale "Ocean" symphony ,
Thanks for the suggestion of the 2nd Symphony. I listened at YT;73 minutes ! For me, more perspiration than inspiration. His 5th Symphony,while much shorter, likewise a one-hear for me. Despite his achievements as a pianist, I found other works more to my liking than his solo piano works or piano concertos ( other than the 4th PC ),having now heard both his Cello Concertos, apparently only Violin Concerto, String Quartet No.2, Op. 99 Piano Quintet , and 3 arias from “ The Demon”, all at YT. First hearings of all for me , but I will go back for second hearings or more on those string works mentioned.

Per Wiki :

“Rubinstein was most famous for his series of historical recitals—seven consecutive concerts covering the history of piano music. Each of these programs was enormous. The second, devoted to Beethoven sonatas, consisted of the Moonlight, Tempest, Waldstein, Appassionata, E minor, A major (Op. 101), E major (Op. 109) and C minor (Op. 111).”

Rach3
Posts: 582
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by Rach3 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:54 pm

" This remark, taken from Rubinstein’s manuscript collection of observations written in German entitled Box of Thoughts :
To Jews, I am a Christian; to Christians, I’m a Jew. To Russians, I’m a German, but to Germans, I’m Russian. To the classicists, I’m an innovator, but to innovators, I’m a reactionary, and so on. The verdict: neither fish nor fowl, a pitiful identity."


http://americansymphony.org/symphony-no ... -42-ocean/

Rach3
Posts: 582
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by Rach3 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:13 pm

I'm taking a break from this composer, but would recommend your hearing some or all of the following I've heard on YT :

Piano Concerto # 4 ( Knew it before, I have Ponti's recording )
My first hearings recently :
Piano Quintet , Op.99 ( live, YT sound not good, but listenable )
2nd Cello Concerto
2nd String Quartet
3rd Piano Trio
Violin Concerto
1st Piano Sonata

I have yet to hear any of his violin sonatas or his Viola Sonata. I did not care for the Symphonies 2,5 , nor the 3 arias I heard from "The Demon" ( but opera is as much a visual art ). The are many more works as he was prolific.

FWW.

Rach3
Posts: 582
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by Rach3 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:28 am

Rach3 wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:13 pm
I'm taking a break from this composer, but would recommend your hearing some or all of the following I've heard on YT :
I should have added , responsive to the OP, that as much as I enjoyed the suggested works, and even though I will return more than once to them, all are " 2nd tier", IMHO.

Rach3
Posts: 582
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:17 am

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by Rach3 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 3:17 pm

Rach3 wrote:
Wed Aug 01, 2018 4:13 pm
I have yet to hear any of his violin sonatas or his Viola Sonata.

Have now heard the Violin Sonata # 3 and the Viola Sonata at YT. " 2nd tier " , but very nice.With the exceptions of the Syms. # 2,5 I did not care much for, I think he was perhaps a better composer of music not for solo piano or piano concertos, somewhat surprising perhaps.

Modernistfan
Posts: 1748
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 5:23 pm

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by Modernistfan » Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:52 am

Although Anton Rubinstein and his brother Nicolai Rubinstein both were converted from Judaism to Russian Orthodoxy in their youth, Anton Rubinstein still retained some relationship to Judaism; according to Wikipedia, Anton Rubinstein later considered himself an atheist. He actually wrote two operas on clearly Jewish subjects, "The Maccabees," telling the story of Chanukah, and "Moses." The librettos for these operas were both written by the Austrian Jewish writer Salomon Hermann Mosenthal, who also provided the libretto for Karl Goldmark's "The Queen of Sheba." (Goldmark, a Hungarian Jew who was the son of a cantor in a small Hungarian town, never converted to Christianity, although it was common among musicians in central Europe in that period.)
A recording of "Moses" with mostly Polish forces, sung in German (its original language), is to be released in a month or so on Warner Classics. At this point, there is no recording of "The Maccabees," although it might be hoped that this will follow.

lennygoran
Posts: 14121
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Anton Rubinstein - a forgotten composer?

Post by lennygoran » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:28 am

Very interesting-thanks-as an aside we'll be seen queen of sheba here in nyc oct 31st. Len

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 31 guests