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mitted in 1852 to the grand duchess concerning the organization of a Conserva-

tory, and in which I also said that the musical institution ought to be af¤liated
with the Academy of Arts. Matters stand differently with the Russian Music So-
ciety which ought to remain in private hands since its aim consists only in dissemi-
nating music and broadening the taste for this art by means of concerts, competi-
tions, incentives, etc. For this, it needs principally money, a number of passionate
music-lovers and enthusiasts, and a central directorate. Besides this, it needs a high-
ranking patron who would surround the undertaking with an aura—in a country
where aura depends on noble origin.
As regards me, this institution became quite alien to me from that moment
when basic principles other than mine were adopted.
I repudiate the assertion that this institution needed perfecting, and I claim
that, if from the very beginning the necessary ¤nancial resources had been made
available, and the undertaking had not depended on such a vast number of people,
the institution would have been from the very beginning that which it ought to be
for all time.
My program—artistic as well as administrative—was of the broadest kind and
met all the requirements. Because of constant discussions, shortages of money, pre-
mature (as far as Russia is concerned), immature, philanthropic, and charitable
views expounded by many colleagues of the most varied types, this program was
distorted, as being too despotic, unnecessary, etc. Only the ful¤llment of these pro-
posals could improve this institution and nothing else.
What could be improved over a period of years? The introduction of new theo-
ries for thorough bass? Or a new method for placing the ¤ngers on the keyboard?
Or to sing, not with the throat, but with something else?
Rules of discipline, contact with the teachers, the allocation of the classes and
subjects, years of training and much else—all this was put in order many years
ago; and all these things taken together were not put into practice because of the
charitable considerations of the committees. Thus it was not the institution that
needed time to perfect itself but the people who study in it, the public in its rela-
tions to the institution, the people who play such a major part in its life, and
those who “hear the ringing of the bells, but do not know from which parish it
is coming.”
There is imprinted on my mind something that I wanted to accomplish differ-
ently from the way it has been done until now everywhere; I started out with the
idea about the need to perfect not only this institution but all artistic institutions.
But I was defeated out of people’s fear of doing something new and because of
their stupidity. Here is my idea: during the graduation examination to make a
decision based not on the marks awarded out of the hunger and boredom of the
examiners but to assess the true value of a student by means of seriously testing
his knowledge. This is one of the main reasons why I left the Conservatory and
will never again take upon myself the administration of it unless my require-
ments are placed as its basis: even if, in people’s opinion, the institution becomes
a model specimen with the assistance of Mess. Gromov, Vargunin, Dargomïzhsky,
Kologrivov et tutti quanti.12

Toward the end of January 1868 Rubinstein had suf¤ciently recovered from
his knee injury to resume his concert tour. As a farewell, Pauline Viardot orga-
nized a morning concert at which Rubinstein played his own arrangement of

126 Anton Rubinstein