The issue of the name of Rubinstein - one of the most famous pianists of all time is not limited to determining whether his name should be written in the English version of "Arthur" or the Polish version "Artur". It turns out that the seventh descendant of Felicja and Isaac Rubinstein, who was never to be born (but thanks to the encouragement of Sister Salomea - called "Salka" - Felicja decided not to terminate her pregnancy) was to receive the name Leon. How did it happen that he became Arthur?
Today we want to quote words by Oscar Levant that are a little dark humor but very current nowadays. Oscar Levant (December 27, 1906 – August 14, 1972) was an American concert pianist, composer, music conductor, radio game show panelist, television talk show host, comedian and actor. Though awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for recordings featuring his piano performances, he was as famous for his shows on the radio and later in movies and television, as for his music. Once, he said: “I’m a concert pianist. That’s a pretentious way of saying I’m unemployed at the moment.”
Excerpt from an interview with the pianist Gabriela Montero posted on the website of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra:
[...] have you had any embarrassing moments on stage?!
What a great question! It’s the first time I’ve been asked this. Yes, a few! I recently played at the Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, and I reminded the audience that the last time I played on that stage was at the Chopin Competition Winner’s of Gala Concert in 1995, as the Bronze Medalist. I laughed recalling one of my most embarrassing moments. I had taken a step with my new shoes on the very slippery stage, and fell with a loud thump on my behind in front of 2000 people and the press. I started laughing, crossed my legs, and just sat there, exhausted and in a rapture of laughter, until the very elegant, and thin Polish presenter, came to my rescue. He tried to help me to my feet while I continued laughing, but he couldn’t manage. He almost fell on top of me!
What did Moritz Moszkowski (1854 - 1925) think about his Piano Concerto?
In the following sketch of himself which Moszkowski sent to a Boston friend, we find an admirable modesty and a good sense of humor. In reply to his friend's request he wrote:
"I should be happy to send you my piano concerto but for two reasons: first, it is worthless; second, it is most convenient the score being four hundred pages long for making my piano stool higher when I am engaged in studying better works."
One old lady rushed up to Rubinstein in London and said: " Oh, Mr. Rubinstein, I am so glad to meet you ; all of the tickets are sold and I have tried in vain to purchase a seat to your recital. Do you not have a seat you could let me take?" " Madame” - replied the great artist, " there is but one seat at my disposal, but you are welcome to that if you will take it." " Oh, thank you, a thousand thanks, Mr. Rubinstein. Where is it?" " At the piano," was the smiling reply.