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Rubinstein meant it

The only difference between music with and without text is that the meaning conveyed by text is explicit on a literal level. In either case the real meaning is conveyed through body language, through timing, through subtleties too minuscule to name or to reconstruct. You simply must be there to take this level in, in which case you are yourself participating in it, for the performer, with or without words, is feeling your presence and is addressing you personally.

I used to get the feeling that this was happening when Rubinstein played in Carnegie Hall, though I was sitting high up in the balcony. I think it happened because he had spent his entire life channeling generosity through his fingertips. In every case it was as if he was speaking directly to me. Others in the audience clearly felt it, as well; for the conversation among strangers as we walked down the many flights of stairs was as if we had all just been guests at an intimate celebration. Thank you, Rubinstein!

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