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Entries / Rubinstein A.G., (1829-1894), composer

Rubinstein A.G., (1829-1894), composer

Categories / Art/Music, Theatre/Personalia

RUBINSTEIN Anton Grigorievich (1829-1894, Peterhof), pianist, composer, director, pedagogue, public figure. Became famous at the age of 12 over his first Europe tour in 1840-43. As an adult he was considered the greatest pianist of the 2nd half of the 19th century. He led a nomadic, artistic life, giving innumerable concerts. He lived in St. Petersburg in 1848-54, 1858-67, and 1887-91, often giving concerts in the capital in the intervals and attending the staging of his operas. Rubinstein's importance for the musical culture of St. Petersburg is huge: he managed to incite a revolution in Russian music. Before him, Russia was considered to be a country of genius amateurs that imported leading musicians of all kinds. The system of musical education proposed by Rubinstein was only halfway instituted, but as a result the musicians who emigrated after his revolution contributed greatly to the musical life of Europe and America, glorifying the Russian school. The power of Rubinstein's personality together with his artistic gift established a new attitude toward the musical profession in Russia. While organising the Conservatory he managed to attain the title of Free Artist and other advantages for its future graduates. During his life Rubinstein proposed the following reforms to musical education: introduce musical study for all types of schools; open state opera theatres and create orchestras in all provincial towns; open conservatories in large regional centres, such as the Baltic Area, the south of Russia, Ukraine, the Caucasus; to create a vertical system of professional musical education, where schools, both public and private, would work according to the methods and under the control of conservatories; to create a net of educational establishments for the organisation of public concerts and performances (all of which weren't implemented). Still, Rubinstein managed to create the state-sponsored Russian Music Society, which opened departments across the country establishing music classes and conservatories. He organised the first St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia, directed it in the years 1862-67 and 1887-91, wrote its regulation and instructions, developed its program, gave classes, delivered lectures, invited professors in accordance with his ideals of musical education, and organised a student opera workshop. In 1887, for the 25th anniversary of the Conservatory, he asked the government to donate the building housing the Bolshoy Theatre, and invested 30 thousand roubles to reconstruct it into a study concert theatre complex. On Rubinstein's initiative and by his means, the 1st International Competition of Pianists and Composers was introduced (St. Petersburg, 1890; the 1st prize was received by F. Busoni; it was later held in Berlin and Paris, and for the last time in St. Petersburg in 1910). Rubinstein also funded public concerts (a series of 16 concerts; 1890/91, Cinizelli Circus, 50 thousand roubles), and in order to present listeners with the wide spectrum of music's evolution as an art, delivered several History of Concerts Cycles: 1885/86, 7 piano concerts; 1886/87, 10 symphony concerts; 1887/88 and 1888/89, cycles of 58 lectures followed by concerts on the history of piano literature; altogether Rubinstein performed 877 pieces of 57 composers. From 1885 Rubinstein participated only in charity-concerts. After a break-up with the Conservatory and the Russian Music Society, he left for Germany in 1891, returning to St. Petersburg immediately upon hearing of starvation in Russia, and giving 2 charity concerts that earned the committee 19 thousand roubles. Rubinstein played in public for the last time in St. Petersburg in September, 1894, on the occasion of the honouring of paediatrician K.A. Rauchfus. Among his operas only one had lasting success: The Demon (1871), which was performed at the Mariinsky Theatre (1875) and in the Italian Opera. Among the operas staged in St. Petersburg were: The Kulikovskaya Battle (Dmitry Donskoy, 1852), Maccabaeus (1877), The Song of the Merchant Kalashnikov (1880), and Goryusha (1889), all of them performed by the Imperial Russian Troupe; and Nero (1884), performed at the Italian Opera, which is also where his oratorios - Paradise Lost, The Babel, Moses - were performed. Rubinstein composed 6 symphonies, 5 concertos for ensemble with piano, and over 200 piano works, including the cycles Kamenny Island (1855), Petersburg Evenings (1860), Peterhof (1866). He also wrote chamber ensemble works, and cycles of romances and songs based on the verse of Russian and Jewish poets. Rubinstein developed a powerful, full-toned style for the piano, which was later picked up by S.V. Rachmaninoff. Rubinstein spent his last years at 27 (1886) and 38 (1887-91; memorial plaque installed) Troitskaya Street, which in 1929 was named after him. He was buried at Nikolskoe Cemetery, and in 1938 his ashes were transferred to Necropolis of Artists. A monument to Rubinstein was installed in the foyer of the Large Hall of the Conservatory (sculptor L.A. Bernstam).

Works: Music and its Initiates. Мoscow, 1891; Thoughts and Aphorisms. St. Petersburg, 1903; Lectures on the History of Piano Literature. Moscow, 1974.

References: Баренбойм Л. А. Антон Григорьевич Рубинштейн: Жизнь, артистич. путь, творчество, муз.-обществ. деятельность: В 2 т. Л., 1957-1962.

A. L. Porfiryeva.

Bernstam Leopold-Bernhard (Leopold Adolfovich)
Busoni Ferruccio
Rauchfus Karl Andreevich
Rubinstein Anton Grigorievich

Rubinsteina St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 38
Rubinsteina St./Saint Petersburg, city
Rubinsteina St./Saint Petersburg, city, house 27

Баренбойм Л. А. Антон Григорьевич Рубинштейн: Жизнь, артистич. путь, творчество, муз.-обществ. деятельность: В 2 т. Л., 1957-1962
Баренбойм Л. А. Антон Григорьевич Рубинштейн: Жизнь, артистич. путь, творчество, муз.-обществ. деятельность: В 2 т. Л., 1957-1962
Мысли и афоризмы. СПб., 1903
Лекции по истории фортепианной литературы. М., 1974
Музыка и ее представители. М., 1891

The subject Index
Musical Society, The Russian
Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory
Nikolskoe Cemetery
Necropolis of Artists