Hyperion Records

Rubinstein, Anton (1829-1894)  
Anton Rubinstein in 1855

Anton Rubinstein

born: 28 November 1829
died: 20 November 1894
country: Russia

Best-known in his lifetime as one of the great piano virtuosos of the nineteenth century, but also a composer, conductor, teacher and administrator, Anton Rubinstein was born in the village of Vikhvatnets, in Bessarabia, to a Jewish family of German-Polish origin. His father was a prosperous merchant, and the family were baptized as Christians when Anton was two years old. Three years later they moved to Moscow. A Wunderkind as a pianist—as was his younger brother Nikolai—he began playing in public at the age of nine. His reputation grew so swiftly that his Paris debut in 1841 was attended by Liszt, Chopin, Kalkbrenner and Meyerbeer, and subsequently he became a piano pupil of Liszt. From 1844, encouraged by Mendelssohn and Meyerbeer, he studied composition in Berlin under Siegfried Dehn (who had also taught Glinka), and returned to Russia in 1848 as chamber virtuoso to the Grand Duchess Helena Pavlovna, sister-in-law of the Tsar. In the 1850s Rubinstein travelled widely in Western Europe and was well known to the Schumanns and Brahms as well as to the Liszt circle. In 1858 he was appointed Imperial Concert Director in St Petersburg, with a lifetime pension. As such, in 1862 he founded the St Petersburg Conservatory and until 1867 was its first Director. Thereafter, apart from a punishing schedule of composition, he returned to the career of itinerant international virtuoso. As a pianist Rubinstein had an enormous repertoire and immense stamina—for example, during a nine-month tour in the USA with the violinist Wieniawski in 1872–3 he gave 215 recitals spanning all the major American cities. He returned to Russia and taught again at the Conservatory in the late 1880s, but in 1891 moved to Dresden. His health was failing, however, and he spent his last year on his estate near St Petersburg, on the shores of the Baltic, where he died in November 1894 a few days short of his sixty-fifth birthday.

Rubinstein’s training in composition had been in the Germanic tradition, and he was always associated with the more ‘Western-leaning’ wing of nineteenth-century Russian music. He was also tremendously prolific, writing operas, oratorios, symphonies and concertos, plus a great deal of chamber and piano music and many songs. Although he was viewed as an important composer in his lifetime, for many years his only work to achieve lasting posthumous fame was the comparatively minor Melody in F, and only a fraction of his output of nearly 200 works is known today. He is often viewed as a musician who was betrayed by his very facility: composition came easily to him, and Brahms, who liked and respected Rubinstein as a man and as a performer, complained that he never took enough trouble over his works. Nevertheless such pieces as the Fourth Piano Concerto, the Second (‘Ocean’) Symphony, the collection of 24 ‘musical portraits’ for piano entitled Kamenniy-Ostrov and the opera The Demon show that Rubinstein was capable of making the requisite creative effort, and these works have clung to the fringes of the repertoire. They testify to a highly accomplished composer who was equally at home in the salon and the concert hall, and whose creative devotion to his native country, even if not especially indebted to Russian folk music, was profound.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2009

'Rubinstein & Scharwenka: Piano Concertos' (CDA67508)
Rubinstein & Scharwenka: Piano Concertos
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67508  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Rubinstein: Cello Sonatas' (CDA67660)
Rubinstein: Cello Sonatas
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67660 
'Rubinstein: Complete Piano Sonatas' (CDD22007)
Rubinstein: Complete Piano Sonatas
Buy by post £10.50 CDD22007  2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)  
'Rubinstein: Piano Quartets' (CDA68018)
Rubinstein: Piano Quartets
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'Rubinstein: Solo Piano Music' (CDD22023)
Rubinstein: Solo Piano Music
Buy by post £27.98 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDD22023  2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1) — Archive Service  
'Liszt: Complete Piano Music' (CDS44501/98)
Liszt: Complete Piano Music
Buy by post £200.00 CDS44501/98  99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)  
'Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 15 – Song Transcriptions' (CDA66481/2)
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 15 – Song Transcriptions
Buy by post £20.00 CDA66481/2  2CDs  
'Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 56 – Rarities, Curiosities, Album Leaves and Fragments' (CDA67414/7)
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 56 – Rarities, Curiosities, Album Leaves and Fragments
Buy by post £30.00 CDA67414/7  4CDs for the price of 3 — Last few CD copies remaining   Download currently discounted
'Pushkin Romances' (CDA67773)
Pushkin Romances
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'Rare Piano Encores' (CDH55109)
Rare Piano Encores
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55109  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Scharwenka & Rubinstein: Piano Concertos' (CDA67508)
Scharwenka & Rubinstein: Piano Concertos
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'The Maiden's Prayer' (CDH55410)
The Maiden's Prayer
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'Hyperion monthly sampler – May 2014' (HYP201405)
Hyperion monthly sampler – May 2014
HYP201405  Download-only monthly sampler  
On other labels
'Guiomar Novaes – The complete published 78-rpm recordings' (APR6015)
Guiomar Novaes – The complete published 78-rpm recordings
APR6015  for the price of 1 — Download only 3 November 2014 Release  
'Arthur de Greef – Solo and concerto recordings' (APR7401)
Arthur de Greef – Solo and concerto recordings
APR7401  Download only  
'Grigory Ginzburg – His early recordings – 1' (APR5667)
Grigory Ginzburg – His early recordings – 1
APR5667  Download only  
'Harold Bauer – The complete recordings' (APR7302)
Harold Bauer – The complete recordings
APR7302  Download only  
'Michael Zadora – The complete recordings' (APR6008)
Michael Zadora – The complete recordings
APR6008  for the price of 1 — Download only  
'Paderewski – His earliest recordings' (APR6006)
Paderewski – His earliest recordings
APR6006  for the price of 1 — Download only  
Alphabetical listing of all musical works
Album de Peterhof, Op 75 (Rubinstein)
Cello Sonata No 1 in D major, Op 18 (Rubinstein)
Cello Sonata No 2 in G major, Op 39 (Rubinstein)
Der Asra – Lied von Anton Rubinstein, S554/2 (Rubinstein/Liszt)
Deux Mélodies, Op 3 (Rubinstein)
Deux morceaux, Op 30 (Rubinstein)
Deuxième Barcarolle in A minor, Op 45bis: Moderato assai  No 1 of Trois Barcarolles (Rubinstein)
Die Ruinen von Athen, Op 113 (Beethoven/Rubinstein)
Einleitung und Coda zu Rubinsteins Étude in C-dur 'sur des notes fausses', S554a (Liszt/Rubinstein)
Fantaisie in E minor, Op 77 (Rubinstein)
Kamennoi-Ostrov, Op 10 (Rubinstein)
Melody in F  No 1 in F major of Deux Mélodies, Op 3 (Rubinstein)
Moy golos dlya tebya i laskovïy i tomnïy 'My voice, calling you with love and longing'  First line to Noch' 'Night', No 1a of Soirées à St-Petersbourg, Op 44 (Rubinstein)
Noch' 'Night'  No 1a of Soirées à St-Petersbourg, Op 44 (Rubinstein)
O! wenn es doch immer so bliebe – Lied von Anton Rubinstein, S554/1 (Rubinstein/Liszt)
Pevets 'The singer', Op 36 No 7 (Rubinstein)
Piano Concerto No 4 in D minor, Op 70 (Rubinstein)
Piano Quartet in C major, Op 66 (Rubinstein)
Piano Quartet in F major, Op 55bis (Rubinstein)
Piano Sonata No 1 in E minor, Op 12 (Rubinstein)
Piano Sonata No 2 in C minor, Op 20 (Rubinstein)
Piano Sonata No 3 in F major, Op 41 (Rubinstein)
Piano Sonata No 4 in A minor, Op 100 (Rubinstein)
Première Barcarolle. Moderato  No 1 in F minor of Deux morceaux, Op 30 (Rubinstein)
Quatrième Barcarolle in G major: Allegretto con moto  No 3 of Trois Barcarolles (Rubinstein)
Rêve angélique  No 22 of Kamennoi-Ostrov, Op 10 (Rubinstein)
Romance in E flat major  No 1 of Soirées à St-Petersbourg, Op 44 (Rubinstein)
Slïkhali l vï za roshchey glas nochnoy 'Have you heard, beyond the grove at night'  First line to Pevets 'The singer', Op 36 No 7 (Rubinstein)
Soirées à St-Petersbourg, Op 44 (Rubinstein)
Thème et variations, Op 88 (Rubinstein)
Trois Barcarolles (Rubinstein)
Trois Caprices, Op 21 (Rubinstein)
Trois Sérénades, Op 22 (Rubinstein)
Troisième Barcarolle in G minor, Op 50 No 3bis: Moderato con moto  No 2 of Trois Barcarolles (Rubinstein)
Turkish March  Extract from Die Ruinen von Athen, Op 113 (Beethoven/Rubinstein)
Valse-caprice in E flat (Rubinstein)
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