Anton Rubinstein - Pianism - Programs


Rubinstein's concert programs were often gargantuan. Hanslick mentioned in his 1884 review that the pianist played more than 20 pieces in one concert in Vienna, including three sonatas (the Schumann F sharp minor plus Beethoven's D minor and Op. 101 in A). Rubinstein was a man with an extremely robust constitution and apparently never tired; audiences apparently stimulated his adrenals to the point where he acted like a superman. He had a colossal repertoire and an equally colossal memory until he turned 50, when he began to have memory lapses and had to play from the printed note.

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, D minor, Waldstein, Appassionata, E minor, A major (Op. 101), E major (Op. 109) and C minor (Op. 111). Again, this was all included in one recital. The fourth concert, devoted to Schumann, contained the Fantasy in C, Kreisleriana, Symphonic Studies, Sonata in F sharp minor, a set of short pieces and Carnival. This did not include encores, which Rubinstein sprayed liberally at every concert.

Rubinstein concluded his American tour with this series, playing the seven recitals over a nine-day period in New York in May 1873.

Rubinstein played this series of historical recitals in Russia and throughout Eastern Europe. In Moscow he gave this series on consecutive Tuesday evenings in the Hall of the Nobility, repeating each concert the following morning in the German Club for the benefit of students, free of charge.

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