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tory, geography, and mathematics were organized.

The full course was set at six


years, and students who successfully completed it, and passed a public exami-
nation, would receive the title Free Artist. Students from classes other than
the dvoryanstvo received exemption from military service during their period
of study (a provision that later prompted accusations that the Conservatory was
fostering unpatriotic sentiments). Rubinstein threw himself into the organiza-
tion of the classes with characteristic gusto. As he told Leopold Zellner, the edi-
tor of the Viennese journal Bltter fr Musik, Theater und bildene Kunst, I have
to forget completely that I am a pianist and a composer. I am busy and now only
live by the allocation of time and the organization of classes, etc., etc.64
Rubinsteins teaching and administrative duties at the Conservatory, as well
as the taxing schedule of rehearsals for the RMS concerts between October and
March, occupied almost all his time. Between 1860 and the end of 1863 he com-
posed hardly anything except the German part songs that comprise his Opuses
61 and 62, and the setting of Lermontovs Rusalka for soloist, female choir, and
orchestra (all three works were completed in 1861). He was still hoping to get
Feramors staged, but Berlin had turned it down because the subject was the same
as Spontinis opera Nurmahal.65
A highlight of the winter concert season was the premiere of Wieniawskis
recently completed Violin Concerto in D minor, with the composer playing
the solo part under Rubinsteins direction.66 The remainder of the concert
schedule for 1863 was a particularly busy one, including guest appearances by
Richard Wagner who had been invited to Russia by the Philharmonic Society.
In February/March 1863 he conducted several concerts in St. Petersburg and
Moscow, and his appearances made a strong impression on many Russian mu-
sicians who praised his novel methods of conducting. Even Cui, who refused to
pander to the general chorus of adulation, found something good to say: Wag-
ner has come at last and proved to us . . . that our orchestra is superb in the
fullest sense of the word and you need only to know how to direct it; the only
things difcult for our orchestra are those that are difcult for the conductor
himself; that since the conductor is conducting not the audience but the orches-
tra, it is tting for him to face the orchestra and not the audience.67 Rubinstein
attended these concerts, as he did a dinner given by Matvey Wielhorski in honor
of the German composer. No record remains of Rubinsteins reaction to the
concerts. His own opinion of Wagner was expressed at length in Music and Its
Masters, and even if it shows that he failed to appreciate the nature of Wagners
genius, it does show that he was well aware of its impact on the development of
European music:
Had Wagner composed, brought out, and published his operas without express-
ing his own opinions about them in his writings, they would have been praised,
blamed, loved, or not, as in the case of other composers; but to declare himself as
the only source of happiness awakened opposition and protest. Some of his works
are indeed worthy of respect (Lohengrin, Meistersinger, and the Faust overture I
like best of his works), but the principles and pretensions in his musical creations

102 Anton Rubinstein