Anda di halaman 1dari 1

Musical art, as any other, demands that the person who is involved with it should

sacrice to it all his thoughts, all his feelings, all his time, his entire being; only on
that person, who in this way devotes all of himself to art, will art sometimes smile,
and allow him to discover its secrets. Only then can the elect gain the right to call
himself an artist and the privilege to proclaim to the world his artthat awesome
fate which imposes on the artist the obligation for providing endless pleasure for
his neighbor, and rewarding him only with the palm branch of a martyr.33

The conclusions Rubinstein reached in his article were deeply rooted in his
own personal experiences, and he attempted to set out the preconditions that,
in his view, needed to exist in order for a musician to achieve success in his
chosen art:
An artist who demands admiration for his work, who has made art a means for
earning his living, will surrender himself to worldwide criticism by that very fact
without this, he will never produce anything great. Disillusionment, ne dreams
scattering before sorrowful reality, the struggle of pride and fate, artistic fanati-
cism, unacknowledged and ridiculed by the indifferent and uncomprehending
masses, but respected and valued by a small number of people, strict but fair
criticismthese are the conditions without which the artist cannot develop.34

In coming to the defense of the vocational artist, Rubinstein stressed that


only professional training (a conservatory) could overcome mediocrity and es-
tablish the correct attitude (as Rubinstein saw it) of the artist to his art in Russia.
His criticism of the amateurs for the exclusivity of their views, in particular,
was seen by many contemporaries as a veiled attack on Dargomzhsky, Serov,
and the Balakirev circle. As relatively wealthy landowners, Glinka and Dar-
gomzhsky had never had to earn their living through music. Balakirev was
mostly self-taught and his most famous pupils were not musicians by vocation:
Musorgsky was a retired guards ofcer; Rimsky-Korsakov, a naval cadet; Cui, a
military engineer; and Borodin (who became a member of the circle in 1862),
a doctor and research chemist. Musorgsky read Rubinsteins article and dis-
missed it with the words: What are Rubinsteins prerogatives for such strictures
it is glory and money, quantity and not quality. O Ocean! O puddle!35 The
mere suggestion of criticism sent the implacable Stasov into paroxysms of rage,
and he swiftly retaliated in an article entitled Konservatorii v Rossii [Conserva-
tories in Russia] published in the newspaper Severnaya pchela [The northern
bee], 24 February/8 March 1861.36 In the rst half of this article Stasov set out
to defend dilettantism, seeing no reason to hinder the amateurs in an occupa-
tion that is pleasant for them and harmless for others. Far more pernicious, he
argues, are the bad works of musicians who are not dilettantes, especially when
they belong to people who are celebrated for some reason or other. He then
turns his attention to Rubinsteins remedy against the allegedly harmful ef-
fects of dilettantism but completely rejects the idea of a conservatory and asks
why Russia should in a servile manner copy an institution, which even in Eu-
rope (according to Stasov) had already been discredited. He regarded the award-
ing of titles as fruitless and merely the source of a mercenary desire. For

92 Anton Rubinstein