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July 27, 1973 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1973-07-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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1 no1314 HZIW3I. TIOCITIG 3HT ,


Rubinste i n ' s I YoungviYear
. , .• qi':-.Noteci iPianist's Affairs, Anecdotes, Jewish Loyalies

•.

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An excitable "publishers'
reader" brought Knopf a
real prize when the decision
was reached to share a
famous pianist's reminis-
cences with a vast public.
Therefore Knopf is assured
another long-running best
seller with "My Young,
Years" by Arthur Rubin-
stein.
The distinguished maestro
emerges here as a marvelous
storyteller. His "early years"
are filled with stories about
his successes, first as a child
prodigy, then as a brilliant
pianist whose very appear-
ance at many functions
aroused interest and calls
for him to display his abili
at the piano.
s a remarkable story in
many respects. What a mem-
ory! The many details re-
lated here would give the
impression that he had kept
a diary retaining the min-
utest incidents in his young



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years. That's not so, of
course. It is mostly Memory,
and the stories he- relates
will keep the reader glued
to a book filled' with anec-
dotes, dramatic incidents,
challenges and — primarily
—love affairs.
What a lover this Artur!
(That's how he was named,
having been referred to as
Artur or Arturo, but his
preference is for Arthur —
and that's how his book is
bylined). The youngster from
Lodz started early, with an
affair with an older woman;
he had constant sex experi-
ences — even in a bordello
— and his longest lasting
was also with a married
woman who had two chil-
dren, his Pola, sister of a
close friend who brought him
into intimacy with the Har-
man family.
It was not a very Jewish
environment he was raised
in, yet, very often, he keeps
referring to his Jewishness.
to Jews he was associated
with, to Jewish attitudes.
It should be indicated in
advance that his emphasis
is on his love for Poland,
and at the outset the Jewish
lad's recollections note: 4`. ,',*
spoke Polish at home, I was
a Pole . . . I loved Poland."
Towards the end of the early-
years-story he states: "Yule-
tide in the Polish capital (he
loved Warsaw) had a beauty
of its own, which I have al-
ways considered a privilege
to be part of. It was a feast
of pure, unmitigated good
will and serene peace . . ."
Contrasted is his ridicule
of his Bar Mitzva ceremony
that was conducted superfi-
cially and left a negative re-
action. At one point, having
met a Dr. Goldflam, he got
into a heated argument over
Jews and he became very
critical. He fumed against
rich Jews and their wives,
"showing off their wealth,
their jewels . . . " Dr. Gold-
flam argued softly, pointing
out that you can't condemn
an entire people for short-
comings of a few. Arthur was
stubborn and he told the
Jewish doctor: "It infuriates
me when anti-Semitic Poles
slander us, calling us Jews
usurers and thieves. I know
that we have, fortunately, a
highly cultured elite, too, and
I would like to vote for you,
doctor, as its president, but
it is too small — it is unable
to offset the bad effect of the
rest."
Dr. Goldflam, who "be-
came sad and serious," pur-
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little suCcVSs. Then he 'lave' read a great deal and he
Arthur Heinrich Graetes' does not let an instance of
of the Jews," in Jewish interest go by with-
"historyOf
German. Arthur, an , avid out mentioning it. He tri-
reader, devoured the four umphed in concerts in his
volumes, and he was deeply youth in Poland, Germany,
moved. When he returned the Italy, Spain, and when he
books, pursuant conversa- came to the latter he did not
tion, on anti-Semitism and fail to write about the Span-
other Jewish matters, "this ish Inquisition, the autos-da-
time our conversation was fe and the tragedy of his
a happy exchange of ideas people.
and observations." There
He was befriended by
was agreement that envy of Ignacy Hans Paderewski and
Jews "leads to slander and Madame Paderewska, he
injustice."
was a constant visitor in the
It is in this connection that home of the famous pianist,
Arthur Rubinstein comment- and he defends the Polish
ed on later events, expressed musician against the charge



,

teachers, of Prof. Heinrich
Barth and his eccentricities;
the eminent violinist, Joseph
Joachim and how Arthur be-
came his protege;' the great
in music who were close to
Arthur in his youth—Feodor
Chaliapin, Pablo Casals, Leo-
pold Godowsky, Max Rein-
hardt, the Josef Lhevinnes.
Eugene Ysawy and many
others.

flustered.
This and many anecdotes
provide fascinating reading
in a musical genius's story
of his early life. The frank-
ness with which the scores
of incidents are related, the
splendid storytelling skill,
combine to -make Rubin-
stein's 'My Young Years" a
most delightful book. — P.S.

No man can break even
He had met with and
played for royalty. He tells today unless he gets all the
an incident about Ossip breaks.
Gabrilowitsch, son-in-law of
Mark Twain who later be- THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
came conductor of' the De-
Friday, July 27, I9Y,1-35
troit Symphony Orchestra
who had "a hard time get-
ting recognition in Berlin.
Hermann Wolff, the German
impressario, managed to fill
the hall for him. But in the
course of his playing, Gabri-
lowitsch thought he saw
Feruccio Busoni, the Italian
pianist and composer, enter-
ing and he was agonized.
But it was some one who
looked like Busoni. Rubin-
Phone
stein writes that Wolff him-
self told him this story "with
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Arthur Rubinstein in His Youth

gratitude "for being still
alive (he is now 86) in this
year of 1972, when I am
writing this book, and to
have seen the miraculous re-
birth of the state of Israel."
"My father," he continues,
"as long as I remember,
talked and dreamed of the
return of our people to Jeru-
salem. I fel somehow, in my
heart, that I represent him
at this glorious moment."
Then follows a tribute to
Israel and her achievements,
an appreciation of the re-
vival of the Hebrew lan-
guage, an appreciation that
"the meek Jews of the
ghettos became formidable
fighters!"
True: he did not have
much of a Jewish training.
But Arthur Rubinstein has

of anti-Semitism. He tells
about some of the associa-
tions with Paderewski and
he relates the following in-
cident during a social func-
tion in the Paderewskis'
home:
"He took my arm and pre-
sented me to his guests, one
by one, saying some nice
things about me. I was not
wrong, calling them hetero-
geneous; there was a couple,
Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Nossig,
both from Lwow in Poland;
he had written the libretto
for Paderewski's opera
`Manru' and was an active
Zionist, which belied the
current gossip among Jews
about the great pianist's
anti-Semitism . . . "
There is charm in Rubin
stein's descriptions of his

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