The Russian Years: Shostakovich Cello Concertos / Rostropovich

The Russian Years: Shostakovich Cello Concertos / Rostropovich

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"l had asked the composer’s wife what it would take to make Dmitri write a cello concerto. She replied that one should never beg or ask Shostakovich to write anything. I heeded her advice, and therefore only learnt from the paper the exciting news that he had actually composed a cello concerto. When my friend, the pianist Alexander Dedyukhin, and I played through the Concerto to Shostakovich we were asked insistently whether we liked it. After I had finally convinced him of how much l did, he asked whether he could dedicate the Concerto to me. I therefore feel very lucky to be the only soloist to have performed under his direction.

After I had finished learning Shostakovich’s Second Cello Concerto, Dedyukhin and I visited Shostakovich near Yalta, where he and his wife were staying. We ran through the Concerto, and afterwards I felt so elated that I wrote a letter proclaiming my admiration for Shostakovich, but Dmitri never mentioned having read it and I did not think it prudent to enquire further. In terms of virtuosity, the Second Concerto is less striking than the First, but its profundity is second to none. In the first, mainly lyrical section, there is an immensely powerful climax when the cello literally tears at one’s soul. The second section contains an old Odessa song “Come and buy my bagels”, and in it one can hear piercing pain with an intensity that is almost Mahlerian. This performance took place in the presence of Shostakovich, who was on that day celebrating his 60th birthday.' - Mstislav Rostropovich.

We are fortunate that these rare recordings (1961, 1966) by Mstislav Rostropovich have actually survived the social and political vicissitudes that have beset Russia from Stalin’s era to the present day.


Product Description:


  • Catalog Number: MOB892227


  • UPC: 190295892227


  • Label: Warner Classics


  • Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich


  • Conductor: Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Yevgeny Svetlanov


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra


  • Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich