Arthur Rubinstein

I am featuring the pianist Arthur Rubinstein (1887-1982) in this week's blog. Rubinstein stands among the most influential pianists of the 20th century and released a massive number of recordings, beginning in 1928. Born to a Jewish factory owner in Poland, he was the youngest of seven kids. Historians write that he admired his sister's piano playing. Local musicians recogized Rubinstein as a child prodigy by the age of four, noting he already had developed perfect pitch. At a very young age, he learned a massive amount of repertoire leading up to his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic at age 13. Before the age of 20, the pianist had taken recital tours across Europe and North Anerica. Like many Jewish musicians in Europe, Rubinstein moved to the United States in the 1930s, seeking refuge from the Nazis. Over the course of his career, he performed varied solo and chamber music repertoire, but is best remembered for his interpretation of romantic era music including Chopin, music by the French Impressionists like Debussy and Ravel, and the piano music of Spain and South America. The links below share Rubinstein's recordings of Frederic Chopin, and Manuel de Falla.

"Fantasie - Impromptu" by Frederic Chopin

This famous virtuosic piece shows of impressive technique while also containing pleasant melodies. Like Rubinstein, Chopin grew up in Poland.

"Ritual Fire Dance" - Manuel de Falla

Another virtuosic piece, Manuel de Falla combines seemingly captures all the instruments of an orchestra in this piano piece. Listen for the texture changes created by the composers use of trills, triads, arpeggios, alberti bass, and sustain pedal. Manuel de Falla was one of the most important composers of piano music from Spain in the 20th century.