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Arthur Rubinstein Plays Brahms

Rubinstein,Arthur
Release Date: 06/12/2012 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 760992   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsFranz SchubertGabriel Fauré
Performer:  Artur RubinsteinHenryk SzeryngGregor PiatigorskyPierre Fournier,   ... 
Conductor:  Fritz ReinerJosef Krips
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony OrchestraRCA Victor Symphony OrchestraGuarneri String Quartet members
Number of Discs: 9 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

If you don’t feel like springing for the entire 140+ disc (latest) Rubinstein edition, these budget boxes containing most of the major material on well-filled CDs–albeit with no notes–might be just the ticket. Some thought seems to have gone into these sets to avoid senseless duplication. For example, Rubinstein’s later recordings of the two concertos come with the “Great Concertos” box. This one contains his earlier versions, with Fritz Reiner and Joseph Krips respectively. The differences between them pianistically speaking are relatively minor. Essentially, the recordings in this set are marginally quicker, and perhaps a touch more emphatically accented: compare the two finales of the First Concerto.

Rubinstein’s survey
Read more of the solo piano repertoire was selective: an excellent traversal of the F minor Sonata, the Four Ballades, and a choice sampling of small pieces–Intermezzos, the Rhapsodies in B minor and G minor from Op. 79, and a few others. The real meat of this set consists of mostly excellent versions of all the major chamber works with piano. You get Henryk Szeryng in the violin sonatas, Szeryng and Fournier in the trios, and the Guarneri Quartet in the piano quartets and quintet. Rubinstein was an excellent chamber music player. Certainly he had as big a personality as any great virtuoso, but unlike some of his equally high powered colleagues (such as Heifetz), he was always a considerate collaborator.

Consider, for example, the opening of the First Trio, a difficult movement to pace, and savor the perfectly flowing tempo, Fournier’s gorgeously tuned entrance, and Szeryng’s equally lyrical and winsome answer. It’s great chamber music playing among three very major artists, and a Rubinstein box is as good a place to find it as any. Keep in mind that Rubinstein was born (in 1887) while Brahms was still living, and however personal his playing certainly represents an authentic Brahms performance tradition. The sonics on these recordings are generally quite good; warm and not excessively overbalanced in favor of the piano.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in D minor, Op. 15 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854-1858; Germany 
Date of Recording: 04/17/1954 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 46 Minutes 13 Secs. 
2.
Pieces (8) for Piano, Op. 76: no 2, Capriccio in B minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1970 
Venue:  RCA Italiana Studios, Rome, Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 36 Secs. 
3.
Pieces (6) for Piano, Op. 118: no 6, Intermezzo in E flat minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1970 
Venue:  RCA Italiana Studios, Rome, Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 32 Secs. 
4.
Rhapsodies (2) for Piano, Op. 79: no 1 in B minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1970 
Venue:  RCA Italiana Stdios, Rome, Italy 
Length: 9 Minutes 6 Secs. 
5.
Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Conductor:  Josef Krips
Orchestra/Ensemble:  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878-1881; Austria 
Date of Recording: 04/04/1958 
6.
Intermezzi (3) for Piano, Op. 117: no 2 in B flat minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1970 
7.
Fantasies (7) for Piano, Op. 116: no 5, Intermezzo in E minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1970 
8.
Rhapsodies (2) for Piano, Op. 79: no 2 in G minor by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; Austria 
Date of Recording: 06/1970 
9.
Sonata for Piano no 3 in F minor, Op. 5 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/17/1959 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 
Length: 34 Minutes 41 Secs. 
10.
Fantasies (7) for Piano, Op. 116: no 6, Intermezzo in E major by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/31/1959 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
11.
Pieces (6) for Piano, Op. 118: no 5, Romance in F major by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/31/1959 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 
Length: 3 Minutes 41 Secs. 
12.
Ballades (4) for Piano, Op. 10 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854; Germany 
Date of Recording: 06/1970 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 
Length: 21 Minutes 4 Secs. 
13.
Sonata for Violin and Piano no 1 in G major, Op. 78 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano), Henryk Szeryng (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1878-1879; Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1960 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 
Length: 27 Minutes 48 Secs. 
14.
Sonata for Violin and Piano no 2 in A major, Op. 100 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano), Henryk Szeryng (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/30/1960 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 
Length: 20 Minutes 16 Secs. 
15.
Sonata for Violin and Piano no 3 in D minor, Op. 108 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Henryk Szeryng (Violin), Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886-1888; Austria 
Date of Recording: 1960-61 
Venue:  American Academy of Arts & Letters, NYC 
Length: 21 Minutes 18 Secs. 
16.
Sonata for Cello and Piano no 1 in E minor, Op. 38 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano), Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862-1865; Austria 
Date of Recording: 1966 
17.
Sonata for Cello and Piano no 2 in F major, Op. 99 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano), Gregor Piatigorsky (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Austria 
Date of Recording: 1966 
18.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 1 in B major, Op. 8 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Pierre Fournier (Cello), Artur Rubinstein (Piano), Henryk Szeryng (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854/1889; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1972 
19.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 2 in C major, Op. 87 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Pierre Fournier (Cello), Henryk Szeryng (Violin), Artur Rubinstein (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880-1882; Austria 
Date of Recording: 1972 
20.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 3 in C minor, Op. 101 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano), Pierre Fournier (Cello), Henryk Szeryng (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Austria 
Date of Recording: 1972 
21.
Quartet for Piano and Strings no 1 in G minor, Op. 25 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano), Arnold Steinhardt (Violin), David Soyer (Cello),
Michael Tree (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guarneri String Quartet members
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855-1861; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1967 
22.
Quartet for Piano and Strings no 3 in C minor, Op. 60 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  David Soyer (Cello), Michael Tree (Viola), Artur Rubinstein (Piano),
Arnold Steinhardt (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guarneri String Quartet members
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855-1875; Austria 
Date of Recording: 1967 
23.
Quartet for Piano and Strings no 2 in A major, Op. 26 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Artur Rubinstein (Piano), David Soyer (Cello), John Dalley (Violin),
Michael Tree (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guarneri String Quartet members
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855-1861; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1967 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 Magnificent!! July 31, 2012 By Gerald Z. (Southlake, TX) See All My Reviews "This recording is a tremendous treat for one's senses. I have a few other recordings of Brahms, but they do not compare to Rubinsteins playing. Great music, played by one of the greatest pianist." Report Abuse
 Great performances of some of the greatest concer July 26, 2012 By Daniel G. (Warrensburg, NY) See All My Reviews "Brahms 2 Piano Concerti are giants in the genre. These performances are powerful and elegant. Though I prefer other recordings, these are very competitive with the best.

Brahms Piano Music and Chamber Music are also giants in their genre. And these performances are very fine indeed. At this low price, this box is a steal. It is a good way to obtain excellent performances of much of Brahms' greatest output."
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 Rubinstein's Brahms at super budget price December 16, 2011 By T. Drake (South Euclid, OH) See All My Reviews "Arthur Rubinstein often stated that Brahms, not Chopin, was his favorite composer. The pianist was also quick to point out that Brahms was alive until Rubinstein was ten years old, and he approached the composer as a contemporary, rather than as an old master. It helped that Rubinstein was under the wings of Brahms' close associate Joseph Joachim. Despite advancing age when these recordings were made, Rubinstein played these works with a sense of youthful discovery. This nine disc set contains the bulk of Rubinstein's stereo recordings of Brahms (although it's not complete, to avoid repertoire duplication). The pieces fall within three categories: concertos, solo works, and chamber music. Concertos: Concerto in D minor, Op. 15: This was the first stereo recording, taped in 1954, to be made of this Concerto. (It was originally released only in mono, and didn't get a stereo release until 1977.) It says something for the original producer - the legendary John Pfeiffer - that the sound still holds up very well. The general interpretation could be characterized as "Brahms without the beard" - the work of a young man full of ardor and passion, and traumatized by Schumann's suicide attempt. Fritz Reiner draws sparks from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with some thrilling woodwind playing in the first movement. This is the antithesis of the dragged out, pre-maturely aged approach that has more recently tested concert audiences' endurance. Although over half a century old, this is still one of the very few "essential" recordings for any Brahms collection, along with the Fleischer/Szell and Serkin/Szell performances. I must point out, however, that Rubinstein's somewhat less well known 1964 recording with Leinsdorf and the Boston Symphony (it has only been issued on CD once) coheres a bit better - even if it's a bit less fiery. As for the 1976 version with Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic: Rubinstein was not in command, and Sony is wise not to give it another CD issue. Concerto in B-flat major, Op. 83: Rubinstein and Reiner had a dramatic parting in 1956, so RCA's plan to record the pianist's complete repertoire with that conductor were shelved. Josef Krips and RCA's pick-up orchestra are on hand here. Much as I love Rubinstein, I can't put any of his recordings of this piece on the top shelf with, say, Fleischer/Szell, or Zimerman/Bernstein. This performance is a bit overly impetuous, with a more vivace approach than this epic, grandeur filled concerto warrants. There's also a bit of technical bluffing, with some arpeggios unevenly balanced. That said, this is the best of Rubinstein's four official recordings of the Second Concerto. (The first, with Barbirolli, is very exciting but sloppy; the last, with Ormandy is bogged down.) Solo works: The F minor Sonata, taped in 1959, was a favorite of Rubinstein's. The first and third movements are particularly arresting here, where his impulsive way with the piece best suits the music. In the second and fourth movements, however, the sense of mystery generated by, say, Perahia, is missing. Nevertheless, this is exciting playing, and Rubinstein is in excellent form in the finale - where too many pianists lose steam (as does the piece itself, frankly). The Romance and Op. 116 Intermezzo are played with the lovely, unforced poetry, and natural lyricism which were hallmarks of Rubinstein's best playing. The four Ballades and several of the Intermezzi were recorded in 1970 for The Brahms I Love LP (LSC-3186). Rubinstein had, by then, developed a drier, less sentimental approach, emphasized by close-up recording. There are times when the playing is somewhat shorn of contrast - one misses the extremes of tension and repose. At this point, the elder statesman of pianists was more interested in making a clear structural statement than in shade and color. It's unfortunate that Sony did not include the 1953 solo recital (originally on LM-1787) on this set - probably because it was mono. The playing was excellent, and it included a few pieces (like the Rhapsody in E-flat) that Rubinstein never remade in stereo. Chamber music: Cello Sonatas, Opp. 38 & 99: Rubinstein and Gregor Piatigorsky were friends from 1931 until the cellist's death in 1976. (Legend has it that the easy going cellist was a calming factor in the many quarrels which sprang up between violinist Jascha Heifetz and the pianist during their days as the Million Dollar Trio.) Much of that personal warmth comes through in these performances, which were recorded in 1966. This is cordial, rather than Teutonic Brahms. Violin Sonatas, Opp. 78, 100 & 108: Henryk Szeryng first performed with Rubinstein in the 1950s. Immediately, their musical chemistry evolved into friendship, and this atmosphere suffuses their recorded performances. There is a give-and-take in these performances which recalls the great chamber music recordings of Rachmaninoff and Kreisler. One never gets the sense that Rubinstein and Szeryng are trying to "one-up" each other (which contrasts with the pianist's recordings with Heifetz). Everything is in perfect balance. (For information on Rubinstein's Brahms recordings with the Guarneri Quartet, I refer you to Santa Fe Listener's informed reviews.) All recordings here are identical in remastering to BMG's mammoth Rubinstein Collection issued in 1999. If you already have those, there's no need to get these. But for those who seek an inexpensive overview of Brahms' music involving the piano, and don't feel the need for a complete set, this issue is an excellent value." Report Abuse
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