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.
"The Russian Years" is aptly named as it is a compilation of rare recordings that, for one reason or another, are connected to Rostropovich's experiences in the former Soviet Union. The Beethoven Triple Concerto recording has become famous because its performance and recording almost didn't transpire due to politics: Rostropovich was a well-known supporter of writer and dissident Solzhenitsyn, something that aroused the ire of the KGB. Musically speaking, this album is about as "Russian" a recording as you can find, not only in the style of playing, but in the collaborations with the USSR State Symphony and with great Russian artists Oistrakh, Richter, Yampolsky and Rozhdestvensky.