Rubinstein had made numerous several recordings in his long life. Hence, he had witnessed the transition of musical compositional and performing style from romanticism to the beginning of 20th Century and impressionism. This didn’t appeal to his liking. In his impression, the young pianists were too mindful of the printed notes and making music is more than just playing the notes correctly. He once commented that music should be taken out from the hearts instead of the pockets.

Being a Polish pianist, Rubinstein’s playing was often described as empowering the soul and the romantic essence of
Frédéric Chopin. To make this statement more valid, Rubinstein had indeed recorded most of Chopin’s compositions and it is widely commented and reviewed that Chopin would never have found a more ideal interpreter than Rubinstein.

However, Rubinstein’s favourite composer is Brahms. Rubinstein received Brahms’ influence through Joachim, Rubinstein’s teenage mentor, as well as a personal best friend of Brahms. And it is no wonder that Rubinstein constantly have Brahms as his ‘first’ in many of the recordings he made, such as his first solo recording, his first  concerto recording and his first chamber recording.

Rubinstein also adored Schumann’s work since his teenage years, first through Joachim, who was a friend of the composer, and indirectly through Brahms, who regarded Schumann as a best friend cum mentor, also through some of his musician friends who had received piano lessons from Clara Schumann, Schumann’s talented pianist wife.

Rubinstein recorded a huge number of recordings in the many decades of his professional life. Though he is widely regarded as a Chopin specialist, he is a wonderful interpreter in all Romantic music.

His famous recording includes the Chopin and one of the live concerts. His solo recordings include Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, Beethoven and Liszt. His collections include chamber music and concertos. All these recordings existed in multiple versions.

~Written by Boon Sin Ler

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