Arthur Rubinstein performs at Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, California. on January 15, 1975. This benefit concert entitled, “The Last Recital for Israel,” was among the last public performances Rubinstein [1887–1982] gave. He was two weeks shy of his 88th birthday when he performed here; he would retire a little more than a year later, in May 1976, after playing his final concert at London’s Wigmore Hall, a place that he had played almost 70 years previously.
Many articles claim that this is the only recorded A. Rubinstein performance, but this is not so. There is at least one other: a recital of Rubinstein performing at Russia’s Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory on October 1, 1964.
Even so, the story behind this particular piano performance is interesting. Gareth Fraser writes in the Trumpet in an article (“Herbert W. Armstrong Hosted Arthur Rubinstein’s Tribute Performance”; January 14, 2015) commemorating the 39th anniversary of the performance.
No money was exchanged for tickets; all seats were by invitation of Ambassador College. Mr. Rubinstein performed the benefit without fee for the International Cultural Center for Youth (ICCY), an Israeli charity dedicated to fostering education for international understanding among youths. Although no contributions were solicited during the evening, those wishing to aid the ICCY could do so by sending their checks to the ICCY in care of Ambassador College.There were 1,200 guests in attendance for the two-hour benefit concert. The ICCY still exists in Jerusalem, and was renamed the Beit Yehudit in 2007. I prefer the original name.
In “Rubinstein Preserved in ‘Last Recital for Israel’ ”; November 30, 1992), 10 years after Rubinstein’s death and about a month after the recording of the concert was released to the public, John Henken writes for The Los Angeles Times:
Rubinstein is still much with us in audio recordings, but this video embodies his music in a presence of majestic simplicity and humanity. Until the encores and a final presentation from Ambassador founder Herbert W. Armstrong, the cameras stick devotedly to their subject, the shifting views and infrequent superimpositions for once thoroughly engaging the eye without alienating the ear or mind.It’s about harmony, both in music and in life. Here is the concert playlist:
- Beethoven: Sonata no. 23 in F minor, Op. 57: “Appassionata”: I. Allegro Assai
- Beethoven: Sonata no. 23 in F minor, Op. 57: “Appassionata”: II: Andante Con Moto
- Beethoven: Sonata no. 23 in F minor, Op. 57: “Appassionata”: III: Allegro Ma Non Troppo
- Schumann: Fantasiestucke, Op. 12: I. Des Abends-Evening
- Schumann: Fantasiestucke, Op. 12: II. Aufschwung-Flight Of Fancy
- Schumann: Fantasiestucke, Op. 12: III. Warum?-Why?
- Schumann: Fantasiestucke, Op. 12: IV. Grillen-Whims
- Schumann: Fantasiestucke, Op. 12: V. In Der Nacht-In The Night
- Schumann: Fantasiestucke, Op. 12: VI. Fabel-Fable
- Schumann: Fantasiestucke, Op. 12: VII. Traumeswirren-Tangled Dreams
- Schumann: Fantasiestucke, Op. 12: VIII. Ende Von Lied-Song’s End
- Debussy: La Plus Que Lente
- Debussy: Prelude from Pour le piano
- Chopin: Etude in E minor, Op. 25, No. 5
- Chopin: Etude in C sharp minor, Op.10, No.4
- Chopin: Nocturne in A-flat major, Op. 15, No. 2
- Chopin: Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53 ‘Heroic’