Anton Rubinstein and Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich. Concerning the History of Their Interactions

Grigory A. Moiseev


The topicality of the research and the academic novelty of the work are stipulated by the fact that for the first time on the basis of unpublished archival documents it presents an overview of the interactions between the august director of the Imperial Russian Musical Society, Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich (1827–1892) and the founder of this largest concert and educational organization, the outstanding Russian musician Anton Rubinstein (1829–1894). Various methods of analysis are made use of in the article, including comparative analysis of source materials and the biographical method. The main material of the research is formed by the Grand Duke’s personal diaries. They reflect all of Rubinstein’s artistic roles — a prodigy musician, the unsurpassed chamber music player, the prolific composer, the pianist, the conductor, the promoter of Russian music abroad, the director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and the educator. The peculiarity of the interrelationship between Konstantin Nikolayevich and Anton Rubinstein is conditioned by several factors — on the one hand, their belonging to the same generation, and on the other hand, the lengthy time-span of their communication. The article is written in a four-part structure. The first section deals with the phenomenon of composer’s protection as a child and the history of the dedication of two of his compositions — the early Piano Concerto in D minor (1849) and the Piano Octet орus 9 (1856). The second section is associated with the musical life and ensemble performance at the imperial court. It demonstrates how from the diary entries it becomes possible for us to restore the chronology of Rubinstein’s performances at the imperial and grand-ducal residences, to acquire the perception of his instrumental ensemble partners, his musical repertoire and his audience. The central place of the article is taken up by the section The Composer and the Pianist. It contains critical comments made by Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich about various musical works pertaining to different genres (chamber music, operas and symphonies), as well as about visiting seven Historical Concerts held in St. Petersburg in January and February 1886. In the final part, an attempt is made to look at Rubinstein, the director of the St. Petersburg Conservatory through the eyes of the august patron of this educational institution.

Keywords: Anton Rubinstein, Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich, Russian Musical Society, St. Petersburg Conservatory, august patronage, Marble Palace

For citation: Moiseev G. A. Anton Rubinstein and Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich. Concerning the History of Their Interactions [Electronic source]. In: Sovremennye problemy muzykoznaniya / Contemporary Musicology, 2023, no. 4, pp. 9–28.

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