Rubinstein: Fantasy in E minor, Op. 77; Theme and Variations, Op. 88; Three Caprices, Op. 21; Three Serenades, Op. 22; Two Mélodies, Op. 3; Barcarolles

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COMPOSERS: Rubinstein
LABELS: Hyperion Dyad
WORKS: Fantasy in E minor, Op. 77; Theme and Variations, Op. 88; Three Caprices, Op. 21; Three Serenades, Op. 22; Two Mélodies, Op. 3; Barcarolles
PERFORMER: Leslie Howard (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDD 22023
‘Beethoven’s bastard’ he was sometimes called, due to the supposedly striking physical resemblance between Anton Rubinstein and posthumous mentor. If true, it would have betokened the longest human pregnancy on record: Rubinstein was born two years after Beethoven’s death. Remembered nowadays (if only by pianophiles) as one of history’s greatest virtuosos, there was a time when his music ranked with the most popular ever written. Today, despite Howard’s committed and immensely accomplished advocacy here, that seems hard to believe. Ironically and sadly, a two-disc recital like this, with its saturation effect, lessens rather than strengthens the case for a revival of Rubinstein’s music in our own time. From an archival and historical point of view, on the other hand, it can be warmly recommended. Jeremy Siepmann

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