Sunday, April 29, 2007
Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007)
I've been so wrapped up in thesis final drafts and presentations that I failed to notice, until today, the death on April 27th of cellist and conductor Rostropovich. Requiescat in pace.
Rostropovich's performance of Bach's Cello Suites was my first exposure to both this cellist and Bach's compositions for cello. Although Casals' interpretation is superior in my view (Casals actually taught Rostropovich's father), this is the recording that I think sums up what Rostropovich is all about, in the way that sometimes it's in a work that isn't the most natural or easiest fit that one sees the greatness in an interpretative artist, whether musician, actor, or dancer. In the Cello Suites, you can hear his warmth, his power, his use of texture and color, and most importantly, that ability to wear one's heart on one's sleeve that characterizes all great artists: the generosity. (And the cello he is playing is absolutely gorgeous in tone.)
Also check out Rostropovich's performance of the Brahms' Cello Sonatas (he draws a connection between Bach and Brahms that usually goes unnoticed), and I guess his recordings of Dvorak, if you like Dvorak.