Notes and Editorial Reviews
Here are 80 minutes' worth of highlights from Arthur Rubinstein's April 20, 1963 recital in Nijmegen, and "high" is the operative word. The performances bring together the musical maturity and technical polish distinguishing many of Rubinstein's late-period studio recordings, along with that additional communicative immediacy, verve, and daring he brought to the concert platform. Moreover, the microphone placement preserves both the 76-year-old pianist's gorgeous, full-bodied tone and how it carried across the footlights to the balcony so that even the softest playing has definition and body.
Beethoven's Appassionata matches the ardency and passionate sweep of Rubinstein's earlier, more cavalier studio renditions,
yet with the stereo revision's more thorough details, such as steadier basic tempos and greater care in regard to note values (the dotted rhythms at the Finale's outset). There's no rushing for effect nor overly complex display in Schumann's Carnaval, which oozes character, continuity, and a kind of personalized, heartfelt rubato that reads between the music's lines rather than draws attention to the pianist. Also notice the fullness of tone Rubinstein achieves in bravura writing with little help from the sustain pedal (Papillons and Pause).
This holds true in some of the Chopin G minor Ballade's fiery passages, and particularly in the coda's clean, steadily built up ascending scales. The E minor Etude's alluring patina and flexible expressivity typifies Rubisintein's best performances of a work he otherwise didn't record. And compared to his relatively dry mono Liszt Twelfth Rhapsody, this live version oozes color, poetry, and irresistible scintillation. As he often did, Rubinstein closed the show with Villa-Lobos' O polichinelo, leaving his audience and this critic extremely well satisfied. If you love Rubinstein, you'll love him even more after you hear this disc. [11/21/2008]
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Carnaval, Op. 9 by Robert Schumann
Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Written: 1833-1835; Germany
Length: 26 Minutes 45 Secs.
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