Rubinstein, Anton


Rubinstein, Anton

Die Maccabäer (full opera score in three acts with German libretto)

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Anton Grigoryevich Rubinstein – Die Maccabäer (The Maccabees)

(b. Vikhvatinets, November 28, 1829 – d. Moscow, November 20, 1894)


With the opera “Die Maccabäer”, Anton Rubinstein created a warlike opera based on religious conflicts between Judeans and Syrians; the end leads neither to more understanding nor to redemption. The title refers to the leaders of a Jewish revolt against the Seleucids. They defeated the Hasmoneans and secured the hereditary rule of the Jews for 100 years.1

The Russian composer, pianist and conductor Anton Grigoryevich Rubinstein was born in Vikhvatinets on 28 November 1829. His older brother Nikolai was the founder of the Moscow Conservatory. Anton Rubinstein himself, regarded as a great piano virtuoso of the 19th century, was Tchaikovsky’s composition teacher.

Growing up in the village Vikhvatinets, around 150 kilometres north-west of Odessa, the son of Jewish parents who had converted to Christianity, received piano lessons from his mother at the age of five before becoming a pupil of Alexander Villoing. He performed in public for the first time as a pianist at the age of nine. In the same year he went to Paris. He started a tour through Russia at the age of fourteen. Later he studied piano with Theodor Kullak in Berlin and composition and music theory with Siegfried Dehn and Adolf Bernhard Marx. In 1848, he moved back to Russia, where he co-founded the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1862, Russia’s first music school. This was followed by further tours as a pianist and conductor. Rubinstein composed twenty operas, five piano concertos, six symphonies, solo piano works, works for chamber ensemble and other works. He died in Moscow on 20 November 1894.2
Rubinstein created his tenth opera “Die Maccabäer” to a libretto by Salomon Hermann Mosenthal. It is based on a theatre play by Otto Ludwig, which is loosely based on the biblical story. Mosenthal, a German-Jewish writer, dramatist, poet and librettist, was born in Kassel on 14 January 1821 and died in Vienna on 17 February 1877.

The opera was composed between 1872 and 1874 and premiered at the Berlin Court Opera on 17 April 1875. It was sung by such great singers of the time as Louisa Horina, Lilli Lehmann and Franz Betz. “Die Maccabäer” became Rubinstein’s most successful opera; for example, there were five further productions in German-speaking countries in the first five years after the premiere. There have been performances until 1907, among others in Frankfurt am Main. Interest in Rubinstein’s operas declined rapidly after his death.3 Due to Russian censorship, “Die Maccabäer” could only be performed in Russia after 1877. …

Read full English preface / Das deutsche Vorwort komplett lesen > HERE

Score Data


Opera Explorer






210 x 297 mm



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