Mstislav "Slava" Rostropovich, March 27, 1927 – April 27, 2007
Shostakovich - Symphony No. 8 - III - Allegro non troppo [Rostropovich - LSO].
The impassioned cellist, composer and humanitarian, Rostropovich passed away yesterday in his native Russia. Rostropovich had recently celebrated his 80th birthday but had been suffering from intestinal cancer and degeneration of his liver.
Rostropovich as a cellist commissioned many works, helping to improve the cello repertoire (including by Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Britten). As a composer he championed the works of Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. And as a humanitarian he fought freedom of speech and the promotion of democracy. Slava even played an impromptu performance in Berlin when the Berlin wall came tumbling down.
He was a great man and I suggest taking a listen to his works both as a composer and a cellist.
Selected recordings recommended for purchasing:
Rostropovich conducts Shostakovich's Symphony No. 8 w/ London Symphony Orchestra available here.
Rostropovich plays Shostakovich's Cello Concerto w/ Philadelphia Orchestra (Ormandy Conducts) available here.
Rostropovich plays Haydn, Saint-Saens, and Elgar Cello Concertos w/ London Symphony Orchestra (Rozhdestventsky Conducts) available here.
Photograph: Reuters Press // Rostropovich at the Berlin Wall