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Violinist Michael Rabin and the mother from hell

Rabin’s funeral was attended by such celebrities as Van Cliburn and Itzhak Perlman. June Le Bell, a friend of Rabin’s and a radio commentator who attended, reported that Rabin’s mother (who died four years later) seemed inconsolable. “She just wouldn’t stop screaming. The ranting and screaming didn’t read true. I’m sure she was feeling these things, but I also think it was her way of becoming the center of attention, which is what I think she wanted all along.”

ALSO BY WARREN BOROSON

A revealing interview with violinist Joshua Bell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 
Comments (5)
5 Wednesday, 09 July 2014 22:00
Angela Sullivan
Loved Michael Rabin I knew someone that knew him very very well he played at this Mans wedding also a great musician, Pianist. He told me many things about Michael Rabin, one being about his mother. who actually threw herself on his coffin an screamed how could you do this to me. That spoke volumes. As far as stupid critics go Michael Rabin played with enormous feeling and musicality unlike many violinist today that make silly faces & gestures. The music comes from within. Who ever thought Michael was boring was a complete idiot.
4 Friday, 14 March 2014 15:32
Dan Leeson
Sometime around 1953, Michael gave a solo recital (with piano) in Bridgeport, Ct and I was asked by the chairman of the local university music dept. to turn pages at the concert. It was at that even that I met Michael's horror of a mother, and she may have been the worst Jewish mother it was my misfortune to meet. She never left Michael alone but made herself a sort of clown to entertain the boy. She would point at me and say, "Isn't that a nice boy who will turn pages for you?"

I think she was incredibly insensitive in her behavior towards her teenage son, and after years of that kind of mother-pecking, I think that Michael just went off the rails.

Sad case.
3 Friday, 27 December 2013 19:42
Paul J. Bosco
About 12 years ago I purchased, in a Christie's rare coin auction, a ":large lot" consisting of dozens of music medals and 100+ other items they didn't know what to do with. The latter were mostly autographed photos of musicians, given to the violin theoretician --I've forgotten his name-- who was the source of this wonderful collection. There were two Michael Rabins, at least one presented to the older man by MR as a respectful teenager.

Among my customers were several good string players, including long-time Met Opera cellist Gerry Kagan. GK, who died last year, had played with MR in a string quartet when he was 18 and MR 14. He said MR would have been the USA's finest violinist. Or maybe he said he WAS the finest, and would have become the finest in the world.

I was told I could value the Rabins at about the same level as the excellent, very personal Menuhin. I think this was because they valued his greatness, and less because of a scarcity factor.

These musicians/colleagues were agreed that Michael had a "difficult relationship" with his mother. I believe they leaned toward the suicide theory. I think I recall it said that he had supposedly climbed up on a kitchen counter and fell off. They were highly skeptical about the "accident" and took no pains to exonerate mama.

I don't know if this is helpful in increasing understanding, but at a minimum it suggests the "mother from hell" part of the website name is not gratuitous.

--Paul J. Bosco
Manhattan
2 Friday, 27 December 2013 19:41
Paul J. Bosco
About 12 years ago I purchased, in a Christie's rare coin auction, a ":large lot" consisting of dozens of music medals and 100+ other items they didn't know what to do with. The latter were mostly autographed photos of musicians, given to the violin theoretician --I've forgotten his name-- who was the source of this wonderful collection. There were two Michael Rabins, at least one presented to the older man by MR as a respectful teenager.

Among my customers were several good string players, including long-time Met Opera cellist Gerry Kagan. GK, who died last year, had played with MR in a string quartet when he was 18 and MR 14. He said MR would have been the USA's finest violinist. Or maybe he said he WAS the finest, and would have become the finest in the world.

I was told I could value the Rabins at about the same level as the excellent, very personal Menuhin. I think this was because they valued his greatness, and less because of a scarcity factor.

These musicians/colleagues were agreed that Michael had a "difficult relationship" with his mother. I believe they leaned toward the suicide theory. I think I recall it said that he had supposedly climbed up on a kitchen counter and fell off. They were highly skeptical about the "accident" and took no pains to exonerate mama.

I don't know if this is helpful in increasing understanding, but at a minimum it suggests the "mother from hell" part of the website name is not gratuitous.

--Paul J. Bosco
Manhattan
1 Sunday, 15 December 2013 02:06
John Pokorny
Michael Rabin was my first real violin influence, along with Isaac Stern, back in 1963, which is about when that fabulous recording "The Magic Bow" was released. It was played on the radio and in stores and its appeal was irresistible. To this day it remains for me one of the two or three greatest violin recordings ever, not only for the performances, but also for the engineering and the quality of the vinyl. That first pressing still sounds exceptional, though I've played it with everything from a nail to a toothpick, so to speak.
Unfortunately, mistakes abound when people write about Heifetz and Rabin, including the too-common misspelling of HeifEtz (it's not an 'i'!!)t, above. Curious, isn't it, when both these artists were so punctillious about their own craft.
Well, one was the idol of the other, and it's gratifying today to see the younger generations expressing their admiration and almost worship for both their recordings. It means their achievements will live on as the epitome of the art of violin playing and of a standard to strive for and love.
Best wishes to you all.

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