Few people can so fully express themselves with words as those most adept with a musical instrument. The harshest, and most convincing critique that I ever saw of Soviet-style communism (I have read Doctor Zhivago and the Gulag Archipelago, thank you!) upon those who avoided its lethal terrors that I ever saw was in liner notes for a set of the Bach cello suites by Mstislav Rostropovich (a fellow now about as old as Rubinstein was when he appeared in Love of Life) -- written by Rostropovich himself, arguing that the fault with Marxism-Leninism was its exaggerated valuation of the material world. Everything material eventually becomes junk unless some person has imbued it with undeniable genius -- a fact that ML could never recognize due to its blindness. Rubinstein was fortunate enough to escape the worst fate possible only because of his greatness as a pianist, but even his powers as a pianist could not spare many of those that he loved, including all of his Jewish family.
This documentary shows the great Artur Rubinstein one who could express himself almost as as adeptly in words as in music. If you don't understand why I give that qualification, then go to a classical music section of a decent record store and buy any recording of Rubinstein's performances. Anything! Some pianists have shown greater talent for musical pyrotechnics than he, but nobody could put a personality on Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven, or especially Chopin as could Rubinstein. It's almost as if those great composers had written their music for a pianist that they had never seen and never could have met. What a miracle!
Rubinstein, then in his early eighties, was still a formidable figure in music. It's only in extreme age that many musicians reach the apex of the refinement of their ability to get the most powerful expressions from the piano, the violin, the cello, or the orchestra, becoming (like the semi-mythical Merlin) younger and fresher as they age.
We have an insight into the person, but only if we can get this
testimony to his musical and verbal eloquence. Please, someone -- re-release this essential document!
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