Michael Rabin: America's Virtuoso Violinist

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Overview

(Amadeus). This first, authorized biography of one of the 20th century's greatest violinists chronicles the life of Michael Rabin from his young boyhood to his premature death at the age of 35. By his teen years in the 1950s, he had already joined the ranks of violin greats and he was being compared to Heifetz, Milstein, Stern, and Francescatti. Lovingly detailed, rich in music history and drama, this biography documents the many forces that shaped Rabin's extraordinary life and career, from his meteoric rise to his surprising decline. Feinstein
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Overview

(Amadeus). This first, authorized biography of one of the 20th century's greatest violinists chronicles the life of Michael Rabin from his young boyhood to his premature death at the age of 35. By his teen years in the 1950s, he had already joined the ranks of violin greats and he was being compared to Heifetz, Milstein, Stern, and Francescatti. Lovingly detailed, rich in music history and drama, this biography documents the many forces that shaped Rabin's extraordinary life and career, from his meteoric rise to his surprising decline. Feinstein charts Rabin's many artistic successes, as well as his struggles to make the transition from wunderkind to adult virtuoso, and sheds light on the true reasons for his fall from grace, debunking the many rumors that surrounded him during that time. Feinstein also clarifies the facts relating to Rabin's sudden death. What emerges is a unique profile of a prodiginous talent and a tragic life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574671094
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation
  • Publication date: 7/28/2005
  • Pages: 350
  • Sales rank: 1,421,976
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2013

    If you want to know about Michael Rabin, this is the book to get

    If you want to know about Michael Rabin, this is the book to get

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2005

    A Biography Unequal to Its Subject

    Only a few of the nice photos are previously unpublished. Quotes from Michael's letters are not adequately interpreted. It's clear that much material has been omitted and/or laundered to reflect the perceptions of those who needed to approve the volume prior to publication. Had Feinstein interviewed additional witnesses, he'd have confirmed the presence in Michael's life of at least three additional women whose names don't even appear in this book. There's no discography, no log of performances, no bibliography. For a first biography, and one that has some of the scholarly apparatus too, these are glaring omissions. All of the more obscure sources listed in footnotes and that I've checked so far turn out to be inaccurate and Feinstein has even cited a publication that never existed. As a writer, Feinstein is pedestrian and goes out of his way to state the obvious. He writes on page 68: 'The role models Michael were [sic.] encouraged to emulate were all adults who had stellar careers in music.' Not only is this incorrect English, but also why would any aspiring performer emulate anyone other than major mature artists? The book is 'Michael Rabin as seen through the eyes of four people'--Bertine (his sister), Adrienne Rosenbaum (his first love interest), Lewis Kaplan (a close friend for a few years) and June LeBell (another girlfriend). It's not a true biography. Michael's accompanist for a decade has only a few paltry mentions, and the same is true of Schuyler Chapin, who worked with Michael for about five years at Columbia Artists Management. Quotes from published sources reflect only the author's various biases. Feinstein presents several contradictory descriptions of how Michael died and refuses to report another that was published earlier. However, Feinstein makes no attempt whatever to resolve these apparent conflicts. The writer quotes one musician's memoirs about Michael's drug use in 1970 because the passage supports his theory. However, he doesn't mention alternative explanations for what happened. English presents another problem for the author. On page 1, Feinstein refers to a career being 'hoisted upon him [Michael].' The word used is incorrect and Feinstein should have said 'foisted' rather than 'hoisted.' The book is filled with such howlers. The word 'haimish' doesn't mean 'homely,' as Feinstein translates it on page 200, where it was part of a thank-you note Michael wrote. The correct translation, therefore, is 'home-like' or 'possessing a friendly and warm atmosphere.' A few other selected errors: The private school Michael attended for about two years was not located at 132 West 60th Street when Michael was a student there, but rather at 61st Street and Broadway. On page 22, Feinstein identifies the young Michael's grade of B+ in science as being 'below average.' Well, that simply isn't so. Michael never appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, although Feinstein says he did. Feinstein refers to the 'Bronx School of Science' when he means the 'Bronx High School of Science.' Then, in discussing 1971, he states, '...Arthur Judson had long departed Columbia Artists.' Well, that's at least partially correct. Arthur Judson departed this life (not just Columbia Artists Management) in 1963. The book has many such errors, half-truths and apparent sculpting of the facts to fit the author's theories (or, those of the violinist's family and whoever else had to pass on the manuscript since this is an 'authorized biography'). The book has so many such problems that its accuracy cannot be trusted. Wait for a more perceptive, balanced, responsible and well-realized book before plunking down your hard-earned money!

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