Rubinstein, Anton


Rubinstein, Anton

Piano Concerto No. 4 in D minor Op. 70 (Piano Reduction for 2 pianos, 2 copies)

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Rubinstein, Anton

Piano Concerto No. 4 in D minor Op. 70 (Piano Reduction for 2 pianos, 2 copies)

(b. Vikhvatinets, Ukraine, 28 Nov.1829 – d. Peterhof nr. St. Petersburg, 20 Nov. 1894)

«The weird, barbaric looking master and magician of the pianoforte, with his immense mass of hair and awkward movement, without smile, or any sign of consciousness apparently of aught beside the single purpose of his music, and with a look upon his face as of one eaten up by the intensity of a life-long absorption in his art, as if all the expression had struck inward, and what you saw was but the lifeless simulacrum of the man, approached his instrument, courteous to his audience if not gracious, amid applause which was but the forerunner of the outbursts that were to follow.» (Dwight’s Journal, 19 October 1872)

Thus a contemporary description of perhaps the only nineteenth-century pianist who could brook comparison with Liszt. Rubinstein was groomed to be a child prodigy in the classical mould: he toured the capitals of Europe from the age of eleven (1840-43), made the acquaintance of Liszt and Chopin, established fruitful contacts with the Russian royal family, and was received by Queen Victoria. He thereupon settled as a teenager in Berlin, where he completed a solid study of composition (1844-6). Later, after being taken up by the tsar’s family as pianist-in-residence, he gradually assumed a towering position in the musical life of his native Russia and in the consciousness of the world. He founded and conducted the Russian Musical Society (later the Leningrad Philharmonic) in 1859, co-founded and directed the St. Petersburg Conservatory (1862-7), conducted the Vienna Philharmonic (1871-2), toured America in 1872, and became a worldwide household name for transcendent pianism, comparable to Paderewski or Horowitz in later ages. Despite his Herculean workload he also managed to produce a huge volume of compositions, including some twenty operas.

Rubinstein, as a composer, had a remarkable, indeed almost dangerous facility. He produced songs and short piano pieces almost as if he were writing postcards. Of the latter, the famous Melody in F (op. 3, no. 1) and Kamennoi-Ostrow (op. 10, no. 22) have achieved immortality in countless arrangements and have virtually entered the collective unconscious of Western civilization. If the larger works have been less fortunate in this respect, the reason may be found in the great flowering of Russian music, from the «Mighty Handful» via Tchaikovsky, Rakhmaninov, and Stravinsky to Prokofiev and Shostakovich, that soon cast his enormous output onto the sidelines….

Bradford Robinson, 2004


For more information on the piece:

Read the preface of the full score  > HERE

Score No.






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