NNT musicians are the best ….
As time went on I learned that most of my favorite musicians (as well as filmmakers, writers, you name it) were NNT/slightly Asperger’s. Could it be that I simply enjoy their art more because of brain similarity? Because I’m part of the “crowd” or “planet” they are playing for?
From wikipedia, several suggestions that Rubenstein was NNT – extreme memory, photographic aspect to memory, and unusual relationship with sound and being able to practice without an actual piano:
“Rubinstein, who was fluent in eight languages, held much of the repertoire, not simply that of the piano, in his formidable memory. According to his memoirs, he learned César Franck’s Symphonic Variations while on a train en route to the concert, without the benefit of a piano, practicing passages in his lap. Rubinstein described his memory as photographic, to the extent that he would visualize an errant coffee stain while recalling a score.
Rubinstein also had exceptionally developed aural abilities, which allowed him to play whole symphonies in his mind. “At breakfast, I might pass a Brahms symphony in my head” he said. “Then I am called to the phone, and half an hour later I find it’s been going on all the time and I’m in the third movement.” This ability was often tested by Rubinstein’s friends, who would randomly pick extracts from opera and symphonic scores and ask him to play them from memory.“
“In his youth, as a natural pianist with a big technique, Rubinstein practiced as little as possible, learning new pieces quickly and without sufficient attention to textual details, relying on his personal charm to conceal the lack of finish in his playing. But his attitude toward his playing changed after his marriage. He stated that he did not want his children to take him as a has-been, so he began in the summer of 1934 to restudy his entire repertoire. “I buckled down back to work — six hours, eight hours, nine hours a day.” he recalled in 1958. “And a strange thing happened… I’s began to discover new meaning, new qualities, new possibilities in music that I have been regularly playing for more than 30 years.” In general, however, Rubinstein believed that a foremost danger for young pianists is to practice too much. Rubinstein regularly advised that young pianists should practice no more than three hours a day. “I was born very, very lazy and I don’t always practice very long,” he said, “but I must say, in my defense, that it is not so good, in a musical way, to overpractice. When you do, the music seems to come out of your pocket. If you play with a feeling of ‘Oh, I know this,’ you play without that little drop of fresh blood that is necessary – and the audience feels it.” Of his own practice methods, he said, “At every concert I leave a lot to the moment. I must have the unexpected, the unforeseen. I want to risk, to dare. I want to be surprised by what comes out. I want to enjoy it more than the audience. That way the music can bloom anew. It’s like making love. The act is always the same, but each time it’s different.”