Pianist Anton Rubinstein: biography, students
The name of this person has long been legendary. They say that he would sit for hours on note paper and in such a state could not even write an ordinary letter. And when he played, he did it only with his eyes closed. He also admitted that he did not have a childhood because of the endless music lessons. Nevertheless, the great Tchaikovsky himself envied his talent. It is a pianist, conductor, composer, teacher and organizer of the Russian musical life, Anton Rubinstein.
Hospitable house of Rubinstein
Anton G. Rubinshtein was born in a wealthy Jewish family. That was in 1829. His father was a merchant from Berdichev. Mom - German.
The future composer had a younger brother, whose name was Nikolai. Subsequently, he became a famous musician. In addition, the brothers had two sisters. One of them became a singer, and the other taught music.
When little Anton was two years old, the Rubinstein family moved to the capital.There, my father managed to open a pencil and pin factory. After a couple of years, he was able to purchase a house in Ordynka.
Students, teachers, officials came to the fire there. Constantly music sounded. It was then that the parents of the future composer noticed that he was listening carefully as his mother played the piano.
The successor of the great Leaf
The first piano lessons were given to little Anton by his mother. And when the child showed his own compositions, it became clear that he needed to hire an experienced teacher. As a result, from 1837 to 1842, his mentor was the famous pianist, the best teacher of the capital, Alexander Villuan. Subsequently, Rubinstein called him his second father.
Thus, nine-year-old Anton Rubinstein, whose brief biography is presented to the reader in the article, began performing in Moscow salons. And when he was eleven, his concert also took place.
In 1840, Villuan took Anton to Paris. It was there that he met the great Chopin and Liszt, who called the boy "his heir." In addition, the famous composer advised him to go on a tour of European countries. So, in fact, what happened.The young wunderkind performed at concert venues in Germany, England, the Czech Republic, Holland, Sweden, Austria, Poland.
And once he performed for the fans of his talent his "Undine", accompanying on the piano.
In general, the tour went on for two years. And the responses to these concerts were the most brilliant.
The patronage of the Grand Duchess
In 1843, Rubinshtein Anton Grigorievich, whose biography was not at all simple, ended up in the northern capital to go to Berlin the following year. There, from 1844 to 1846, the young composer began to study composition theory. His mentor was Siegfried Den. By the way, among his students at one time was the great Glinka.
In the meantime, the composer’s father’s business collapsed, and the entrepreneur himself soon died. And since Rubinstein’s mother and younger son were at that time in the capital of Germany, they were forced to return to Russia. But the future composer remained in the West and soon moved to Vienna.
To earn a living, he gave lessons and sang in church. In addition, he had a meeting with F. Mendelson and F. Liszt. The latter was able to help the young talent in organizing the tour with flutist Heindel.
In 1849, Rubinstein returned to St. Petersburg.Grand Duchess Elena Pavlovna patronized him and he began to perform not only as a pianist, but also as a conductor. The composer's play was a tremendous success among the members of the imperial family, including the sovereign Nicholas I. Note that during these times Rubinstein mainly performed his own works.
The first famous works
As mentioned above, the passion for writing has embraced Rubinstein since childhood. By and large, he worked hard and worked hard in almost all musical genres. The number of his creations is 119, not counting twelve operas, romances and compositions for piano.
1850 for Rubinstein was truly successful. First of all, he presented his first symphony and opera, which was called “The Battle of Kulikovo”. Two years later she was put on the Bolshoi stage.
The following year, the composer wrote the Second Symphony under the name “Ocean”. She gained great recognition among European and American music lovers. Also this creature loved the great Tchaikovsky very much. He believed that Rubinstein’s “Ocean” was the culmination of Anton Grigorievich’s composing activities.
After the triumph, from 1854 to 1858, Rubinstein again went abroad. According to biographers, it was during this period that he became famous as one of the greatest pianists of our time.
Examinations at the Conservatory
Despite his great fame, Rubinstein believed that his most important business was musical enlightenment. He was one of the founders of professional music education in the country. As a result, he was able to reverse the existing opinion that music is solely the lot of amateur aristocrats.
Thus, when he returned to Russia after the tour, he took up the organization of the Russian Musical Society. He became its director.
In 1862, he formed music classes, which were later transformed into the country's first conservatory. Note that before he headed this institution, he decided to pass exams in a number of subjects, after which he received the diploma of a “free artist.”
Within these walls, as a teacher, he began teaching instrumentation, ensemble, orchestral, and piano. And one of the first students who became graduates was Peter Tchaikovsky.
Unfortunately, the activities of the composer as the head of the conservatory sometimes did not find understanding. Anton Rubinstein was forced to leave this post. It happened in 1867.
Rubinstein had no rivals
Over the next two decades, Rubinstein dedicated to concert and creative activities. By this time, his fame as a pianist was comparable only with that of Franz Liszt. As a virtuoso, he had no rivals at all. The finger technique became for him only a means, an instrument, but not a goal at all.
Two years after Rubinstein retired from the conservatory, he once again went on a tour of European countries. The Duke Karl-Alexander, who was admired by his talent, offered to stay with him at the court in Weimar. But the composer refused.
After some time, followed by another, American tour. He then shared the stage with the famous violinist G. Wieniawski. In eight months they gave 215 performances as a duet!
However, during this period Anton Rubinstein, a pianist, was only dreaming to leave the concert stage forever. His thoughts turned more and more to spiritual opera.It was then that he wrote the opera The Tower of Babel. In the 70s, it was performed with great success in the cities of Düsseldorf, Vienna and Königsberg.
The fate of the operas was not always successful
The most famous work of the composer is the opera “The Demon”. It was written based on the famous poem by M. Lermontov and can be compared with other mature examples of the genre: “Werther” Massenet and “Faust” Gounod. Thanks to this creation such famous singers as Chaliapin, Shtokolov, Tartak became famous.
However, the Rubinstein work was prohibited by censorship. Only four years later he was still put in the theater.
True, the most difficult was the fate of the opera “The Merchant Kalashnikov”. For the first time it was shown in Russia. Conducted by the author himself. But soon the performance was banned.
Three years later, the ban was lifted, and everything went to the production. At the dress rehearsal was attended by the eminent minister K.P. Pobedonostsev, who was displeased that icons were depicted on the scenery. As a result, the performance was again canceled.
In 1889, the opera was once again staged. After douh performances, Anton Rubinstein himself, whose biography interests all lovers of beautiful music, refused to make some changes.
Large-scale musical action
In the years 1885-1886the composer managed to organize a large-scale cycle, which was called “Historical Concerts”. It was 175 pieces of music that were performed twice in Russian and Western European cities. Note, again he spoke only for teachers and students, while free of charge. Such concerts for every musician were a real event.
Honorary Citizen of Peterhof
Three years later, the composer again headed the St. Petersburg Conservatory. By this time he began to read his public music lectures. There were 32 of them. So, he read to students a unique in volume “Course of Piano Literature”. At the same time, he accompanied these lectures with his musical illustrations.
At the same time began the celebrations associated with the half-century anniversary of the artistic activity of the great musician.
In addition, Rubinstein was awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of Peterhof. The fact is that for two decades the life of a musician was associated with this town: there was his dacha there.
Then he again left the conservatory.
International Music Competition
After leaving the conservatory, Rubinstein organized an international competition for young composers and pianists. According to his plan, this competition should be held every five years. The expenses were paid by the composer himself. The material component was a percentage of its own capital.
At the first competition, which took place in St. Petersburg in 1890, Rubinstein personally chaired. The next event was held in Berlin in the 95th. Then the baton took the city of Vienna, Paris and others. The last competition should be held in Berlin in 1915, but the plans were prevented by the First World War.
The best pianists and composers from all over the world were attracted to these musical competitions. Rubinstein, in his recollection, did not at all consider pedagogical activity to be his favorite occupation. Still, he was able to teach young musicians a lot. Such worthy students of Anton Rubinstein as Kashperova, Kross, Yakimovskaya, Poznanskaya, Golliday, Terminskaya pleased the listener with their beautiful music.
The most famous student of Rubinstein was the Polish pianist Joseph Hoffman. Even as a child, he, like a teacher, was a prodigy.Since seven years old, little Joseph has already started touring.
In 1892, in Dresden, he auditioned for Rubinstein. As a result, Hoffmann became the only private student of the composer. Twice a week he came to his house. Rubinstein worked hard with him. At the same time, he taught him not so much the technique of playing the piano, but also formed certain musical ideals.
As a mature musician, a Polish pianist, a student of Anton Rubinstein, Joseph Hoffman made his debut in 1894. He then performed the fourth concert of his teacher. After the speech, Rubinstein stated that he was no longer able to teach him something and stopped studying with him. And the work with which Hoffmann performed was forever included in his concert repertoire.
Anton Rubinstein was friends with I. Repin. The great artist was very fond of music, was considered a music lover. He was especially fascinated by the work of a friend, Anton Rubinstein. The artist painted his three portraits. The last picture “Portrait of the conductor and composer A. G. Rubinstein” was created when the composer himself was no longer.
Curiously, during this period Repin met with members of the merchant family Shikhobalovykh from Samara.They offered to purchase this painting, and waited patiently for the completion of the work. In 1915, a portrait of Anton Rubinstein already adorned the walls of the Shikhobalovs' mansion in Samara. In the spring of 1918, the entire collection of these merchants was nationalized and transferred to the local museum.
The composer spent his last years of his life mainly in Dresden. Sometimes he came to other cities to take part in charity concerts. He also continued to engage in composing, teaching and literary work.
The sudden death in 1894 caught him at his beloved cottage in Peterhof.
The demise of the eminent musician found a response in the widest circles of Russian society. It was then that they began to speak of him as “unforgettable.
He was buried in the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. Subsequently, the ashes were transferred to the Necropolis of art masters in the Tikhvin cemetery. That was in 1938.
In 2005, the monument to the composer was unveiled in Peterburg’s favorite for Rubinstein. In addition, one of the streets of the northern capital bears his name.