Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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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