At 88, Arthur Rubinstein showed no trace of losing that quality of "joie de
vivre" that had so fascinated audiences for almost three quarters of a
century. The true Rubinstein sound, full and sonorous at every pitch, was
always one of the distinctive marks of his playing ever since he began
appearing in public. Rubinstein's performance of Saint-Saëns's Piano
Concerto No. 2, accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra
under André Previn, is a perfect testimony of his notion of a "singing
tone". With playing that is by turns vital and poetic, extrovert and
reflective, rhapsodic and poised, this performance, filmed in April 1975 at
Croydon's Fairfield Hall, is Rubinstein at his warm-hearted, lyrical best.
Incidentally, Rubinstein made his New York debut with the Saint-Saëns
Concerto at Carnegie Hall on 8 January 1906.