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"London - Holland Street [Kensington] ... When Rubinstein entered the room it became suddenly smaller. He had a young, short body and broad shoulders, from which long arms ended in the most powerfully sensitive hands I have ever seen. Above those shoulders appeared an ageless, grotesquely ugly face at the prow of a beautiful head. This head was topped with a crop of gracelessly crimped dun-blond hair that sprang aggressively from a high concentrated forehead. Eyes pale with intensity seemed more like hieroglyphics of intelligence than eyes in a face and a sombre Semitic nose carved with chastening Polish delicacy supported them. Pale firmly-full lips smiled with nervous sadness over strange teeth, and only the chin was allowed to rest a little from the forward-moving pace of his vitality. It afforded a slight pause in the breathless race to take in the rest. The next minute you realized that its backward movement was controlled with a fierceness that could defeat a Napoleon. I wonder if all really great men have had the firm prominence so generally accorded this feature? When I think of the strong chins I have known, I doubt it. Be that as it may, Arthur Rubinstein entered the room... [He] played [Beethoven's] Hammerklavier Sonata [on the Bechstein] that night as it was meant to be played and as it must have been essentially conceived. It became a work of monumental splendour through his fingers. Such was the young Polish pianist in 1911..."

- Muriel Draper © 1929, Music at Midnight


"[Muriel] had a fine, graceful figure, a pale, silky complexion, [blue eyes] and remarkably beautiful hands. But her face was disquietening: her narrow, long head, topped by [blonde] hair that she kept closely under a net, her high cheekbones, her short, slightly flat nose, and exuberantly large mouth with thick red lips made her look like a white Negress. Many people considered her ugly, others beautiful. In spite of her aggressive personality and exceptional intelligence, she had a great feminine charm ... [a woman of] ironic smile, strong opinions, and loud laughter ... I fell in love."

- Arthur Rubinstein © Aniela Rubinstein, Eva Rubinstein Coffin, Alina Anna Rubinstein & Arthur Rubinstein 1973, My Young Years

Prague a hundred years ago        Bohemian Trios