excerpt from 'Music and manners; personal reminiscences and sketches of character' pp. 222-223 (303 words)

excerpt from 'Music and manners; personal reminiscences and sketches of character' pp. 222-223 (303 words)

part of

Music and manners; personal reminiscences and sketches of character

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

222-223

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text excerpt

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Rubinstein's playing has always impressed me as being, in certain important respects, unique ; for instance,in its fiery impetuosity, its inexhaustible capacity for varying its productions of tone-colour, and — last, though not least remarkable — its extraordinary pianissimi; mere instrumental whispers, but perfectly articulate and free from indistinctness. There is more than one eminent performer of the present day who can "sing " upon the piano quite as sweetly and intelligently as Rubinstein, and who is fully his equal in the execution of individual tours de force; but I know of no other whose forces manifestly increase, instead of diminishing, with the vanquishing of each successive difficulty that presents itself to him, and who, at the end of a long programme, can play its last number — generally a terrible exposition of some paramount technical difficulty or difficulties — more brightly, crisply, and vigorously than he played its first. Rubinstein compels the pianoforte to yield up and give out its utmost tone-power, not by thrashing it as though it were an hereditary foe with whom it is his purpose to settle an account of offence that has been running for several centuries, but by applying to its keyboard the exact sort of pressure which is bound to bring it to compliance. It may be said that pianofortes find the discipline they receive at his hands extremely trying— more so, even, than some of them can bear with- out breaking down under their trials. But, on the other hand, a good master chastens the servant whom he loves — of course, for that servant's good — and no pianist alive, I will be bound to say, is more deeply attached to the instrument upon which he plays than is Anton Rubinstein, that fine musician, magnificent executant, and prince of good fellows to boot. 

Rubinstein's playing has always impressed me as being, in certain important respects, unique ; for instance,in its fiery impetuosity, its inexhaustible capacity for varying its productions of tone-colour, and — last, though not least remarkable — its extraordinary pianissimi; mere instrumental whispers, but perfectly articulate and free from indistinctness. There is more than one eminent performer of the present day who can "sing " upon the piano quite as sweetly and intelligently as Rubinstein, and who is fully his equal in the execution of individual tours de force; but I know of no other whose forces manifestly increase, instead of diminishing, with the vanquishing of each successive difficulty that presents itself to him, and who, at the end of a long programme, can play its last number — generally a terrible exposition of some paramount technical difficulty or difficulties — more brightly, crisply, and vigorously than he played its first. Rubinstein compels the pianoforte to yield up and give out its utmost tone-power, not by thrashing it as though it were an hereditary foe with whom it is his purpose to settle an account of offence that has been running for several centuries, but by applying to its keyboard the exact sort of pressure which is bound to bring it to compliance. It may be said that pianofortes find the discipline they receive at his hands extremely trying— more so, even, than some of them can bear with- out breaking down under their trials. But, on the other hand, a good master chastens the servant whom he loves — of course, for that servant's good — and no pianist alive, I will be bound to say, is more deeply attached to the instrument upon which he plays than is Anton Rubinstein, that fine musician, magnificent executant, and prince of good fellows to boot. 

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excerpt from 'Music and manners; personal reminiscences and sketches of character' pp. 222-223 (303 words)

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