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Michael Rabin - Mosaics


Release Date: 01/12/1999 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 67020   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Frédéric ChopinHenri WieniawskiFederico MompouAlexander Scriabin,   ... 
Performer:  Michael RabinLeon Pommers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Magnificent, but tragic. Michael Rabin was born in 1936 and died, possibly addled by drugs, in a fall in 1972. A short life, but his artistic career was even shorter, as he was essentially inactive for his last decade. The recordings with piano are in stereo and date from 1959; EMI has taken that Capitol recital disc, kept the title and cover art, and added monaural unaccompanied Bach and Ysaÿe from 1955. The playing is stunning; Rabin was Ivan Galamian's star pupil: Purely as display of brilliant technique, rich tone, and fierce, crushing virtuosity, it is hard to think of a subsequent talent who had quite this combination of talents, and to quite this degree. The catapulting drive and verve and sheer crunch of the showpieces, such as Read more the Wieniawski, Sarasate, Suk, and Szigeti 's mind-boggling transcription of the Scriabin (maybe the toughest encore piece in the literature), exist at a level all their own. The beautiful tone and polished control in the quieter, more songful works by Engel (a simple but gorgeous and, I find, addicting, song transcription), Debussy, Ravel, and Chopin are impressive, but one senses that true repose, while easily within his grasp, was not in Rabin's inner nature.

As I remarked when reviewing Electrola/EMI's multidisc set of Rabin's complete Capitol/EMI recordings (Fanfare 15:5; Rabin recorded for Columbia as a child prodigy), one senses in the young Rabin an unendingly enthusiastic but knowing imitator, now of Heifetz, now of Francescatti, now of Milstein (his Heifetz was better than his Milstein). The one personal and distinctive feature of his music-making was the wolfish animality of it, and while he had a good grasp of larger forms—he played major concertos by Bruch, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, and Glazunov brilliantly—it is no surprise that the quiet pleasures of chamber music and sonatas did not appear to loom large in his repertoire. The solo Bach, smoothly legato, is awesomely executed but interpretively generic. The two Ysaÿe sonatas were more congenial to Rabin's natural style, and they and the concertos point to the directions Rabin was going to have to travel if he was to grow as an artist beyond carnal sensuality. We probably do not want to know what the demons were that curtailed this career and life.

Purely as artifacts of that life these are among the most splendidly played of violin recordings, from a violinist who always sought to win his musical bouts with the clean knockout punch rather than on finesse. Those items with piano, very closely micophoned, were stuffy and among the worst-sounding things in that Electrola/EMI set; these are new transfers that sound much clearer.

– David K. Nelson, Fanfare
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Works on This Recording

1.
Nocturnes (2) for Piano, Op. 27: no 2 in D flat major, B 96 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Michael Rabin (Violin), Leon Pommers (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Studio A, Capitol 46th St. Studios, NYC 
Length: 6 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: August Wilhelmj 
2.
Etudes-Caprices (8) for 2 Violins, Op. 18: no 4 in A minor by Henri Wieniawski
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Michael Rabin (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; St. Petersburg, Russ 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Studio A, Capitol 46th St. Studios, NYC 
Length: 1 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Fritz Kreisler 
3.
Scènes d'enfants: Jeunes filles au jardin by Federico Mompou
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Michael Rabin (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915-1918; Spain 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Studio A, Capitol 46th St. Studios, NYC 
Length: 2 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Joseph Szigeti 
4.
Etudes (12) for Piano, Op. 8: no 10 in D flat major by Alexander Scriabin
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Michael Rabin (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1894; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Studio A, Capitol 46th St. Studios, NYC 
Length: 1 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Joseph Szigeti 
5.
La plus que lente by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Michael Rabin (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; France 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Studio A, Capitol 46th St. Studios, NYC 
Length: 4 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Roques 
6.
Spanish Dances (2) for Violin and Piano, Op. 21: no 2, Habañera by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Michael Rabin (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Studio A, Capitol 46th St. Studios, NYC 
Length: 4 Minutes 19 Secs. 
7.
La capricieuse, Op. 17 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Michael Rabin (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; England 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Studio A, Capitol 46th St. Studios, NYC 
Length: 4 Minutes 1 Secs. 
8.
Sea-Shell by Carl Engel
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Michael Rabin (Violin)
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Studio A, Capitol 46th St. Studios, NYC 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Zimbalist 
9.
Pièce en forme de Habañera by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Michael Rabin (Violin), Leon Pommers (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; France 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Studio A, Capitol 46th St. Studios, NYC 
Length: 3 Minutes 12 Secs. 
10.
Love for Three Oranges: March, Op. 33b no 1 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Michael Rabin (Violin), Leon Pommers (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Studio A, Capitol 46th St. Studios, NYC 
Length: 1 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Jascha Heifetz 
11.
Pieces (4) for Violin and Piano, Op. 17: no 4, Burlesca by Josef Suk
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Michael Rabin (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900; Prague, Czech Republ 
Date of Recording: 1959 
Venue:  Studio A, Capitol 46th St. Studios, NYC 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
12.
Sonata for Violin solo no 3 in C major, BWV 1005 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Michael Rabin (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1720; Cöthen, Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/1955 
Venue:  Studio A, Capitol 46th St. Studios, NYC 
Length: 19 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording. 
13.
Sonatas (6) for Violin solo, Op. 27: no 4 in E minor by Eugène Ysaÿe
Performer:  Michael Rabin (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1924; Belgium 
Date of Recording: 09/1955 
Venue:  Studio A, Capitol 46th St. Studios, NYC 
Length: 11 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording. 
14.
Sonatas (6) for Violin solo, Op. 27: no 3 in D minor "Ballade" by Eugène Ysaÿe
Performer:  Michael Rabin (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1924; Belgium 
Date of Recording: 09/1955 
Venue:  Studio A, Capitol 46th St. Studios, NYC 
Length: 6 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a monaural recording. 
15.
Spanish Dances (2) for Violin and Piano, Op. 23: no 2, Zapateado by Pablo de Sarasate
Performer:  Leon Pommers (Piano), Michael Rabin (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880 

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