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RUBINSTEIN PIANO CONCERTO 4
in D minor, Op 70



The Anton Rubinstein Piano Concerto 4 is a fabulous piano concerto.  It was in the repertoire of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Sergei Rachmaninov and Josef Hofmann, three of the Olympians of the piano in the first half of the 20th Century.  It has been recorded by pianists of the stature of Grigory Ginsburg, Friedrich Wuhrer, Oscar Levant and Raymond Lewenthal.

The first movement, Moderato assai, with its grand, dramatic exposition and lyrical themes, is splendid.  The Andante movement begins with one of the loveliest melodies in the concerto literature.  And the last movement, Allegro, is befitting of a Brahmsian finale in the rhythmic intensity of the orchestral tutti.  The writing for both piano and orchestra is first rate.  It is an excellent and most pleasing piano concerto.

But the Rubinstein Piano Concerto 4 is all but ignored today.  Why?  The recordings that follow might well convince you that this concerto deserves to be performed, perhaps instead of one more Mozart or Beethoven concerto on a concert program.

Anton Rubinstein wrote five Piano Concerti in all.  While neither as popular nor as well known as the great Rubinstein Piano Concerto 4 in D minor, his other concerti for piano and orchestra are all very beautiful and very grand.  Rachmaninov was also an ardent admirer of Rubinstein, the pianist, of whose playing he said, "[It] gripped my whole imagination and had a marked influence on my ambition as a pianist.  It was not so much his magnificent technique that held one spellbound as the profound, spiritually refined musicianship, which spoke from every note and every bar he played and singled him out as the most original and unequaled pianist in the world."  Such praise from the great Rachmaninov himself should be enough to suggest that Rubinstein might well have written splendidly for the piano as a composer.  I firmly believe that he did.



Josef Hofmann (1876-1957), Polish-American pianist
Fritz Reiner conducting the Curtis Institute Student Orchestra


i Moderato assai




Josef Hofmann (1876-1957), Polish-American pianist
unidentified conductor and orchestra


ia Moderato assai (beginning)



ib Moderato assai (conclusion)



ii Andante



iii Allegro




Grigory Ginzburg (1904-1961), Russian pianist
Boris Khaikin conducting the USSR TV and Radio Large Symphony Orchestra
i Moderato assai - ii Andante - iii Allegro

recorded in the 1950s




Oscar Levant (1906-1972), American pianist
Dmitri Mitroopoulos conducting the New York Philharmonic Orchestra


ia Moderato assai (beginning)



ib Moderato assai (conclusion)



iia Andante (beginning)



iib Andante (conclusion)



iii Allegro




Joseph Banowetz (b 1936), American Pianist
Robert Stankovsky conducting the Czecho-Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra
i Moderato assai - ii Andante - iii Allegro




Michael Ponti (b 1937), American pianist
Othmar Maga conducting the Philharmonica Hungarica


i Moderato assai



ii Andante



iii Allegro




Marius van Paassen (b 1952), Dutch pianist
Alexander Anissimof conducting the Utrecht Radio Symphony Orchestra

recorded live in 1993


i Moderato assai



iii Allegro




Alexander Paley (b 1956), Moldovian-born American pianist
Igor Golovchin conducting the State Symphony Orchestra of Russia


i Moderato assai



ii Andante



iii Allegro




Marc-André Hamelin (b 1961), Canadian pianist
Dmitriy Vasilyev conducting an unidentified orchestra

recorded live in 2012


i Moderato assai



ii Andante



iii Allegro










For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background

Murder in the House of the Muse

which is also available as an audiobook.



And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series:

Murder Follows the Muse



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