Notes and Editorial Reviews
Mstislav Rostropovich is one of the greatest cellists of the twentieth century. From his debut in Moscow in 1942 through numerous world tours, Rostropovich set a high standard of playing, both in terms of accuracy and bravado. A versatile genius, he was also a formidable pianist and conductor who enjoyed a distinguished tenure with the National Symphony Orchestra. He subsequently appeared as guest conductor with many major orchestras, notably the Vienna Philharmonic. It is as a cellist, however, that he will always be best remembered.
This disc of concertos from the mid 1960s is a noteworthy part of "The Russian Years" series in that all the works featured were expressly composed for Rostropovich by composers directly or indirectly influenced by Russians. The music of the "newer generation," however, is not derivative. Rather, it is a refreshing and fascinating musical odyssey every bit as important as the experience of listening to Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Worthy of special mention is the concerto of Yuzo Toyama, with its peculiar Japanese texture. The work has a decidedly "folk" feel and Rostropovich handles it, as he does all the works on the "Russian" series, with aplomb.