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Rostropovich - Return To Russia


Release Date: 09/24/2009 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 45836   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Peter Ilyich TchaikovskyEdvard GriegNiccolò PaganiniSergei Prokofiev,   ... 
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 weeks.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Whoever a year or so back would have thought to hear a Russian audience clapping so joyfully in time to Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever. That is the culminating encore of a wonderfully varied half-dozen that witness the rapture of Muscovites at hearing Rostropovich perform again, even if only as a conductor. Vladimir Ashkenazy's return to Russia brought moving mementos on record, and this Sony recording, made at two concerts in the Moscow Conservatoire in February 1990, brings a sense of occasion at least as powerful.

Rostropovich chose his encores with characteristic shrewdness. The Strauss Polka, the Excursion Train (no translation provided of the German title), comes not in its usual form, but in an extraordinary
Read more orchestration by Shostakovich , with witty commentary from percussion and brass. The Grieg then brings ravishing pianissimos from the Washington strings, and Rostropovich reinforces his achievement with the players when the violins en masse then play the Paganini showpiece with amazingly precise ensemble. The darkness and violence of the excerpts from Romeo and Juliet after that seem almost like a commentary from Rostropovich on the Soviet system, promptly set against the carefree American dream in the haunting Gershwin cakewalk, Walking the Dog. All that as preparation for the Stars and Stripes Forever, with the recording inevitably including a fair amount of the applause between items.

Those lollipops, I imagine, will be the prime attraction of the disc for many collectors, but the main item is not to be underestimated as a serious addition to the long list of Pathetiques on CD. On such an emotional occasion I had expected Rostropovich to be in self-indulgent mood, squeezing passions to the limit. It is certainly an intense and passionate performance, but not a self-indulgent one, or even an expansive one of the kind Rostropovich favoured in his very distinctive cycle of the Tchaikovsky symphonies for EM!. Speeds are on the fast side, consistently faster for example than on the Muti/Philharmonia version that I have just been sampling again (see page 74). And in the great broad melodies of the first and last movements Rostropovich's approach is urgent, with espressivo interpreted as a cue for pressing ahead, not drawing back. The string ensemble throughout is excellent, with exceptionally clean articulation, and the principal reservation must be over the recorded sound. Though it is very good considering the problems of recording live in Moscow, with a good dynamic range, there is a vagueness of focus in the bass which at times becomes boomy. But few collectors attracted to the disc need worry overmuch about such niceties.

-- Gramophone [9/1991]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1990 
Length: 44 Minutes 4 Secs. 
2.
Peer Gynt Suite no 1, Op. 46: no 2, Death of Ase by Edvard Grieg
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1875/1888; Norway 
3.
Moto perpetuo for Violin and Orchestra in C major, Op. 11 by Niccolò Paganini
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835 
4.
Romeo and Juliet Suite no 1, Op. 64a: no 7, Death of Tybalt by Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Paris, France 
5.
Shall We Dance: Promenade "Walking the dog" by George Gershwin
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; USA 
6.
Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; USA 
7.
Vergnügungszug Polka, Op. 281 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1864; Vienna, Austria 

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