Anton Rubinstein

Anton Rubinstein

A Life in Music
Philip S. Taylor
Distribution: World
Publication date: 5/22/2007
Format: cloth 376 pages, 3 b&w illus.
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-34871-5
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The first modern biography in English of Russian composer-pianist Anton Rubinstein, this book places Rubinstein within the context of Russian and western European musical culture during the late 19th century, exploring his rise to international fame from humble origins in Bessarabia, as well as his subsequent rapid decline and marginalization in later musical culture. Taylor provides a balanced account of Rubinstein’s life and his career as a piano virtuoso, conductor, composer, and as the founder of Russia’s first conservatory. Widely considered the virtuosic heir to Liszt, and recognized internationally as an equivalent cultural icon, he performed with most leading musicians of the day, including Liszt himself, Joachim, Clara Schumann, Vieuxtemps, Wieniawski, Saint-Saens, and Ysaÿe.
Publication is made possible in part with the generous support of Dan and Susan Sterner

Author Bio

Philip S. Taylor, who died in 2007, was a member of the Institute of Translating and Interpreting, United Kingdom.


". . . this is a valuable, much—needed and important study. . . I for one take my hat off to the author for a remarkable achievement." —Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone

"All too often composers who are out of favor are given cursory scholarly attention or sometimes only a brief tome asserting the need for a revival of interest. British scholar Philip Taylor takes a great leap beyond this with his thorough, engaging account of the life of the unjustly forgotten composer—pianist Anton Rubinstein (1829—94). . . . [T]his book will appeal as much to the music scholar as to the music lover seeking to learn more about a unique and understudied artist. . . . Highly recommended." —Choice

". . . Intended for the lay reader, this densely footnoted but readable book features no musical analysis. It is a triumph of modern musicological scholarship recommended for all music libraries." —Library Journal

". . . Taylor has gathered hundreds of letters, official papers, reviews, and reminiscences. If Rubinstein remains a baffling figure, a least now there is a proper account of his paramount achievement - the establishment of the St. Petersberg Conservatory in 1862." —Simon Morrison, Princetn University, SLAVIC and EAST EUROPEAN JOURNAL , Vol. 53.2 Summer 2009

"Taylor writes with fluency, economy, precision and judgement, although he is characteristically modest about his aims: 'this author has tried to allow Rubinstein to speak for himself, adding commentaries, where necessary, for the sake of narrative structure and clarity' (p. xxiii). In doing so, Taylor has done us an enormous service, and certainly one which Rubinstein himself would have admired." —
Slavonic & East European Review , Vol. 88.3, July 2010

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Leslie Howard
Note on Transliteration
List of Abbreviations for Sources

1. Prologue: The Historical Context
2. Return to Russia and First Opera, 1848—53
3. Foreign Tour, 1854—59
4. The Founding of the Russian Music Society and Russia's First Conservatory, 1859—67
5. Europe and America Concert Tour, 1867—73
6. A Villa at Peterhof and Operatic Successes, 1873—85
7. The Historical Concerts and Second Term as Director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, 1885—91
8. Dresden, 1891—94