Recorded live at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, 1 October 1964.
Picture format: NTSC 4:3
Sound format: PCM Mono
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Booklet notes: Tracklisting in English, French, German
Running time: 97 mins
No. of DVDs: 1
Arthur Rubinstein's 1964 recital in the Moscow Conservatory's Great Hall was preserved in the Russian State television archives, and now is released for the first time on home video. The all-Chopin program documents the 77-year-old pianist at the height of his musical maturity, with his big technique, ravishing tone, and awesome sense of projection operating at full capacity. Young performers can learn from Rubinstein's aristocraticRead more platform manner, centered body language, and effortless coordination. More significantly, Rubinstein's interpretations convey a sense of risk and daring that largely elude his meticulous stereo studio recordings.
You notice this in his larger-than-life Polonaise performances, and in the generous yet judiciously proportioned rubatos with which he imbues lyrical episodes (the Impromptu, the Nocturne, and the A minor Waltz, for example). The pianist seems a bit unsettled at the Sonata Scherzo's outset, where he cleverly improvises his way out of a memory lapse just before the Trio section (the superior-sounding audio-only recording of this concert, issued as part of RCA's Rubinstein Edition, contains a spliced-in correction). I especially love how gorgeously Rubinstein stretches the Barcarolle coda's phrases for maximum harmonic tension and poetic impact.
The non-Chopin encores also represent Rubinstein at his soulful best, leaving the pianist's adoring Russian public and this reviewer well satisfied. Silent excerpts of Chopin Etudes filmed in 1928 for educational purposes comprise the skimpy DVD "Extras".