S0469. MICHAEL RABIN: Paganini, Mendelssohn, Godowsky, Tchaikovsky, Wieniawski, Scriabin, Saint-Saëns, Prokofiev, Engel & Ravel; w.Voorhees Cond. Bell Telephone Hour Orch.: Caprice #9 (Paganini), Broadcast Performance, 18 June, 1956; w.Caston Cond. Denver S.O.: Concerto #4 in D, K.218 (Mozart), Live Performance, 9 Feb., 1960; w.Schmid Cond. Beromüster Radio-Orch.: Concerto in a (Glazounov), Live Performance, 3 March, 1968; w.Fjeldstad Cond. Oslo Phil.: Concerto in D (Tchaikovsky), Live Performance, 29 Oct., 1964; w.Solti Cond. L.A. Phil.: Concerto #2, Op.78 (Creston), Live Performance, 17 Nov., 1960 – World Première. (Canada) 2–Doremi 7970/71. Final Sealed Copy! - 723721455354
“Violinist Michael Rabin is one of many artists whose career was cut tragically short by an early death. Even before he died at the age of 35, Rabin ended his studio recording career in 1959 for unknown reasons and began to display an assortment of both physical and mental maladies, including a crippling fear of falling from the stage. In a cruel twist of irony, it was, in fact, a fall -- though not from a stage -- that was to end his life. Billed as the greatest young violinist since Heifetz, Rabin in his prime possessed a deeply sultry tone, impeccable bow technique, pristine intonation (superior even to Heifetz), and intensely passionate interpretations of both the standard repertoire as well as modern works. This third volume of the Michael Rabin Collection features two discs filled with live performances of both cornerstone repertoire (such as the Tchaikovsky and Glazunov concertos), commissioned works (notably the Creston ‘Second Violin Concerto’), and a series of short, concert show pieces. Though Rabin's technique was said to have declined by the 1960s, evidence of this is not to be found in this collection. His Tchaikovsky concerto in particular is not only technically brilliant, but emotionally engaging from start to finish. The short works recorded for the Bell Telephone Hour and on an Australian tour (including three of the Paganini ‘Caprices’ for which he is especially admired) do not have the best sound quality, yet they still demonstrate Rabin's incredible skill and meticulous playing. Perhaps the rarest and most gripping performance on the set is Creston's ‘Second Violin Concerto’, which Rabin had the privilege of commissioning. Here again, sound quality from both orchestra and soloist is a bit one-dimensional and lacking in depth, but Rabin's musical intentions are still quite clear.”
- Mike D. Brownell, Rovi
“Michael Rabin, a violin virtuoso who at 35 could look back on two decades in which he traveled some 700,000 miles to play before millions on six continents, when he was 13 in April 1950, appeared as a soloist with the National Orchestral Association at Carnegie Hall, and a reviewer for THE NEW YORK TIMES commented: ‘Young Rabin, who appeared with the organization two months ago, was last to appear, a regrettable fact, since this reviewer could only hear the beginning of Wieniawski's Concerto #1. In those few opening moments it was apparent that the violinist is poised, aware of musical problems and fully capable of solving them in sound. His tone was strong, but, sweet and colorful and he played with zest. It was reported that he continued the same, and that the audience gave him an ovation’.
At his [formal] debut, two months later, he played a Vieuxtemps Concerto with the same organization at Carnegie Hall. On that occasion Dimitri Mitropoulos called him ‘the genius violinist of tomorrow, already equipped with all that is necessary to be a great artist’. George Szell described him as ‘the greatest violin talent that has come to my attention during the past two or three decades’. Artur Rodzinski added: ‘Rabin's is not the usual musical prodigy story. No one beat him to make him practice his scales. He was not overprotected and shut off from the world, but managed to enjoy a perfectly normal American boy hood’.
Michael Rabin was born on New York's upper West Side on May 2, 1936. He was born into a musical family for his father, George Rabin, a pupil of Franz Kneisel, was a member of the New York Philharmonic's first violin section, from which he recently retired after 43 years. His Russian‐born mother, the former Jeanne Seidman, was a gifted pianist. She had studied with Edwin Hughes at the Juilliard Institute of Musical Art and had become a teacher herself in the preparatory division of Juilliard.
By chance Ivan Galamian, the renowned violin pedagogue, had just come to the United States from Paris and he was persuaded to hear the youngster play. Michael played a movement of a difficult Vivaldi concerto, and Mr. Galamian - while making no promises - agreed to let the youngster take three lessons a week with his assistant at their summer headquarters near Lake Placid, N.Y. At the end of the summer Michael again played for Mr. Galamian who took him on as his personal pupil, at first privately and later at Juilliard. For three years, from the age of 9 to 12, Michael worked hard with Mr. Galamian, and also learned conventional schooling at the Professional Children's School and with private tutors. From time to time he played for well‐known musicians and was encouraged by them. This led him to an honest evaluation of his own talents. Mischa Elman, so the story goes, patted him with approval and asked about his musical ambitions. ‘Sir’ Michael is reported to have said with all seriousness, ‘when I grow up I want to be able to play the violin just like Heifetz’.
Michael performed at a Town Hall pupils’ concert and then, in April, 1947, not quite 11, he accepted his first professional engagement.
In 1949, competing against 31 musicians from the Northeastern states, he won the 10th annual Edgar Stillman Kelley contest of the National Federation of Music Clubs. He was at once engaged for the following season for the National Orchestral Association Carnegie Hall program. This was the occasion on which he played the Vieuxtemps Concerto #5, and Ross Parmenter, a music critic of THE NEW YORK TIMES, reported: “The youth is already an accomplished artist. Not only has he technical facility and platform assurance, but he plays with real grace and beauty of tone. The boy will be worth watching’.”
- William Freeman, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 20 Jan., 1972