Anda di halaman 1dari 1

the Salle Pleyel.

Intimidated by the crowd, Chopin was nevertheless happy to


receive guests informally, and Villoing and Anton were able to visit him. Many
years later, in his Lectures on the History of Piano Music, Rubinstein recalled his
rst encounter with the great Polish composer-pianist:
I was eleven years old when, in 1841, I was presented to Chopin. On that occasion
he played me his Impromptu when it was in manuscript.33 Although I was still a
child, this meeting with Chopin created a strong impression on me, and even now
I can remember all the furnishings of his apartment on the rez de chause, rue
Tronchet, 5, near the Madeleine, and the Pleyel piano covered with green baize
standing in the middle of the room, and on the piano: the gift of Louis-Philippe
to Frdric Chopin.34

Liszts advice to Villoing had been to take his pupil to Germany, but rst they
traveled to The Hague where Anton gave his rst concert at the Diligentia Hall
on 18 June. On 19 and 24 June 1841 he played for the Dutch court at the palaces
of Paauw (Wassenaar) and Soestdyk (Baarn). For ten years the old king William
I had struggled to come to terms with the humiliating loss of Belgium, which,
through the intervention of France and the other European powers, was established as an independent kingdom in 1830. He eventually abdicated in favor of
his son who came to the throne as William II in October 1840. Already in 1816
the new king had married Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna, the sister of Tsar
Alexander I of Russia, whose hand Napoleon had once sought. That summer
her grandson, Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolayevich, himself just thirteen years
old, visited the Dutch court and heard Anton play. The grand duke was destined
to play an important role in the political and cultural life of his country, and
this encounter with Rubinstein paved the way for establishing inuential contacts with the Russian court. After giving several more concerts in Amsterdam
and The Hague, Villoing and his pupil nally arrived in Germany in mid-July.
From this point forward all pretense that the tour was intended to further Antons musical education was clearly abandoned.
The rst concert in Germany took place at the theater in Cologne on 19 July,
where Villoing accompanied his pupil in a performance of his own Piano Concerto in C minor. Then from July to the end of the year they made further
appearances in Ems, Bonn, Baden-Baden, Frankfurt-am-Main, Karlsruhe, Augsburg, and Munich. Villoing was responsible for devising the programs of Antons
concerts, and as the young pianist later remarked: He [Villoing] observed the
greatest discipline with me, and I carried out all his demands.35 The programs
of these early concerts laid great stress on brilliance and were designed to show
off the young players technical accomplishments. In performing such works as
Thalbergs fantasies and Liszts Grand Galop Chromatique, (pieces frequently
included in Liszts own programs), the young Rubinstein exhibited eloquent
proof of his skill in the mechanical execution of music composed in the grand
bravura style.
Early in 1842 the pupil and his teacher arrived in Vienna where Anton gave

Prologue 13