Rubinstein: A Life in Music

Harvey Sachs, Author Grove Press $27.5 (448p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1579-9
Pianist Arthur Rubinstein (1887-1982), apart from being a world-renowned performer for more than 65 years, also wrote a bestselling autobiography, My Young Years. Sachs, author of an admired study of Toscanini, is therefore up against formidable competition--and comes out of it with great credit. His study is detailed, fair-minded and vivid. Rubinstein was vastly egocentric in his private life, yet appeared genuinely transformed by his music-making, which seemed often to come across better on recordings than in person and helped make him the bestselling classical pianist ever. A tireless womanizer, he was middle-aged before he married a woman 22 years his junior and had children. In the last decade of his life, he began a liaison with a young English concert promoter, Annabelle Whitestone (now married to British publisher Sir George Weidenfeld). Rubinstein seems never to have overcome his sad childhood, but the pleasure he gave and continues to give to millions was his true legacy. The book includes an outstanding review, by the author, of Rubinstein's recordings and a fine discography by Donald Manildi. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/16/1995
Release date: 10/01/1995
Genre: Nonfiction
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