Arthur Rubinstein plays Chopin
May 29, 2012 6:18 PM   Subscribe

As a tribute to Frédéric Chopin, we take you to the home of Arthur Rubinstein - one of the most distinguished interpreters of his works.

Of course that charm was buttressed by the mind of a superb musician, and by the fingers of a spectacular technician. Rubinstein coaxed a big, sonorous, golden tone from the instrument, and his fingers were in total command of anything in his repertoire. And that, paradoxically, was true even when he dropped notes or smudged passages here and there. For it was clear that a sloppy episode resulted not from lack of native ability but rather from sheer scorn of pedanticism. He was daring, he took chances, and if a few notes suffered en route that was unimportant. He was a natural, born to play the piano, and when he was on the concert stage one felt as though the piano itself was welded to his body. Musician and instrument were one. - Harold C. Schoenberg

The Nocturnes

Op. 9, No. 1
Op. 9, No. 2
Op. 9, No. 3
Op. 15, No. 1
Op. 15, No. 2
Op. 15, No. 3
Op. 27, No. 1
Op. 27, No. 2
Op. 32, No. 1
Op. 32, No. 2
Op. 37, No. 1
Op. 37, No. 2
Op. 48, No. 1
Op. 48, No. 2
Op. 55, No. 1
Op. 55, No. 2
Op. 62, No. 1
Op. 62, No. 2
Op. 72, No. 1
posted by Trurl (17 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
These are great, I'll go through them all.

But did his house look like a Three Stooges set to anyone else? I saw the eyes on that painting move!
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:24 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Cheers, nice post.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:46 PM on May 29, 2012

That was bitchin'!
posted by nosila at 6:49 PM on May 29, 2012

These are my jams
posted by wheelieman at 6:52 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Rubinstein plays Chopin, posted on You Tube...

(680 likes, 9 dislikes)

Top Comment:
"it has dislikes?!?!?"
posted by ovvl at 7:10 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

I saw the eyes on that painting move!

Delacroix can do that to you.
posted by ovvl at 7:22 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

"After playing Chopin, I feel as if I had been weeping over sins that I had never committed, and mourning over tragedies that were not my own. Music always seems to me to produce that effect. It creates for one a past of which one has been ignorant, and fills one with a sense of sorrows that have been hidden from one's tears. I can fancy a man who had led a perfectly commonplace life, hearing by chance some curious piece of music, and suddenly discovering that his soul, without his being conscious of it, had passed through terrible experiences, and known fearful joys, or wild romantic loves, or great renunciations." - Oscar Wilde
posted by sherlockt at 7:23 PM on May 29, 2012 [12 favorites]

These are truly wonderful. As a (very amateur!) pianist I've played many of these, at varying levels of competency, and they are just extremely enjoyable to play. The nocturnes are less technically challenging than many of Chopin's other works, but that belies their true difficulty: to play them well, as Rubenstein does so beautifully here, requires a deep level of interpretive and emotional power. It also speaks to Chopin's enduring genius. Stunning stuff.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 7:37 PM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh -- and I also wanted to add that it's really nice to follow the score along with the music. Hats off to the YouTube uploader for that; it's a simple thing that I'd like to see on more of this type of video.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 7:39 PM on May 29, 2012

In a high school summer camp for pianists the campers all watched the Rubinstein footage you linked where he asks "Do you want some moonlight?" before playing the f# major nocturne. That became a running gag - everyone would ask that before playing anything and it still makes me smile.

I brought the C# minor scherzo that year and got props when Rubinstein said "It takes more out of me than any piece I know"... although watching it now he didn't exactly look winded at the end or anything.
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 7:40 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

As a student of Barth, Rubinstein inherited a renowned pedagogical lineage: Barth was himself a pupil of Liszt, who had been taught by Czerny, who had in turn been a pupil of Beethoven.
posted by pracowity at 11:59 PM on May 29, 2012

I've wandered into Père Lachaise a couple of times just to visit Chopin's grave, and each time I've read the map wrong, gotten thoroughly lost, silently panicked, then resigned myself to spending the rest of my life trapped in there, played nocturne no. 1 on my iPod, felt love, peace and nighttime, hung out with some other dead people, accidentally found an exit, and swore to myself I would never go back there again. I still haven't managed to see him. Which is all right, his heart is in Poland anyway.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:47 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oops, sworn.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 4:48 AM on May 30, 2012

A great artist who transcends technique. (Amazon has his complete Chopin collection 11 CD set for like $25.)
posted by AnnElk at 5:47 AM on May 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nice! Thanks for reminding me of these recordings Trurl.
posted by snaparapans at 8:08 AM on May 30, 2012

Also excellent: Chopin Polonaise F# minor Op.44 Rubinstein Rec.1951
posted by heyho at 7:39 PM on May 31, 2012

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