Anton Rubinstein enjoyed a considerable reputation both as a piano virtuoso the equal of Liszt, and for a stream of distinctive compositions that include symphonies and operas. He was also responsible for revolutionising standards in teaching and performance in his native Russia. Yet it is only now, some 125 years after his death, that posterity is reassessing his very real achievement as a gifted and original composer whose works are notable for their melodic memorability and extraordinary variety of textures.
Anton Rubinstein occupied an uneasy place in the history of Russian music, largely because of his Jewish origins and the perception of him as a ‘German in Russia’. In recent years his solo piano music has begun to be re-evaluated. This album focuses on the series of works written in the mid-1850s and reveals music of charm and flair. The Three Pieces, Op. 16 are conventional in form but attractive, and the Two Pieces, Op. 28 contain a strongly contrasted Nocturne and Caprice. More ambitious, and intended to be performed in his concert repertoire as one of the greatest virtuosos of the age, are the Six Pieces, Op. 51.
Listen to an extract from Six Pieces Op. 51: No. 6. Coquetterie
About the Artist
A Steinway artist, Sergio Gallo specialises in piano repertoire of the Romantic period. He has also championed the work of composers from Brazil, the nation of his birth. Gallo has performed with orchestras worldwide, and his work has been played regularly on international classical music radio outlets. He is the winner of concerto competitions held by the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and the University Symphony in Santa Barbara.