Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Tragic Cutting Short of a Major Talent

The passing years have dulled the name Michael Rabin, who is pretty well forgotten at this point in time.
May this writer suggest that had he lived on, he could very well have become the most significant American violinist of his time.
I remember, as a young student, hearing his performance of the Paganini caprices (which were recorded, by the way). To this day, it continues to be in my memory as one of most riveting portrayals I have ever heard of these daunting compositions by the legendary 19th century violinist/composer. I don't believe that Rabin, at that time, was more than fourteen. I do know that the great Heifetz heard him and immediately recognized the immense potential housed in this child.
Sadly, Rabin was afflicted by some neurological malady which cut his career short very quickly, and he died at age 35 of a fall in his New York home.
Between William Kapell and Michael Rabin, America was denied the limitless promise of perhaps its two most defining talents.

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