May 2, 2007 at 3:22 PM
4/30/07 – The New York Times, reported on Rostropovich’s funeral from Moscow: “Thousands of Russians paid their respects here in the Russian capital this weekend to Mstislav Rostropovich, the cellist and conductor who was laid to rest on Sunday just feet from the fresh grave of former President Boris N. Yeltsin. It was the second time in less than a week that the country buried a public figure considered a symbol of his time ... President Vladimir V. Putin, whom Russian state television described as Mr. Rostropovich’s friend, paid his respects at the conservatory where the cellist’s body lay in an open coffin for viewing on Saturday.” Kishkovsky notes that services for Mr. Rostropovich were open to the public, writing: “Among the mourners were Queen Sofia of Spain and Bernadette Chirac, the wife of President Jacques Chirac of France, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and young cellists, bearing witness to Mr. Rostropovich’s reputation as a man of the world whose appeal cut across class lines ... The conservatory reported that more than 10,000 mourners streamed past Mr. Rostropovich’s coffin there.”
4/29/07 – The New York Times ran a piece considering the 200+ pieces of music composed for him. "He was the recipient of five pieces by Britten; two cello concertos by Shostakovich; and Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante. He gave the first performances of works by Penderecki, Dutilleux, Lutoslawski, Schnittke, Messiaen, Bernstein, Auric and Walton and a host of other 20th-century composers."
4/29/07 – The Chicago Tribune listed 10 top Rostropovich recordings (in alphabetical order) on CD and DVD. “They tell us why the ebullient Slava was one of the most revered classical musicians of his time and why he will forever remain so.” Here’s what the critic had to say about Bach: “Bach: Complete Cello Suites (EMI, CD and DVD). Rostropovich waited until he was 63, in 1991, before committing the six unaccompanied cello suites of Bach to disc. He carefully chose the recording site -- a church in the Burgundian village of Vaezelay, France -- because of its perfect acoustics. The results, released on CD and video in 1995, speak to us as eloquently as Pablo Casals' pioneering Bach recordings of the late 1930s spoke to a previous generation.”
4/29/07 - Nicholas Kenyon, director of the BBC Proms, wrote this appreciation in The Guardian (UK): "In an age of performers created by record companies or talent shows, Rostropovich was the real thing - a player of breathtaking command and power who put across the music he played with an emotional intensity that none could resist. But more than that, in standing up for his friends and colleagues and for music itself, Rostropovich was the most inspiring example of the interconnectedness and total indivisibility of music and political reality, art and life."
4/27/07 – Renowned cellist David Finckel posted his own thoughts on his website, ArtistLed.com: “My actual lessons with him, which lasted roughly nine years, were sporadic, but my focus on learning from him was constant ever since I first was captivated by his recordings at the age of 11. One did not have to have a lesson to learn from Rostropovich; one had only to be near him in almost any situation.”
4/27/07 – When New England Conservatory sent out an e-mail flash about Rostropovich’s death, they included summaries of each of his three visits to NEC, including this nugget: “In April 1997, Rostropovich gave a rare public masterclass in Boston at Symphony Hall…. Playing for Rostropovich were violinists Vali Phillips and Mariana Green, cellist Ndidi Menkiti, and double bassist Lemarr Lovett. Green, Menkiti, and Lovett studied at the NEC Preparatory School, and Lovett went on to study at NEC at the College level. Green, who many knew as a member of the Amaryllis Quartet, now teaches at NEC Prep.”
Violinist.com member Samuel Thompson wrote to me to share news of his first publication. He wrote “Let's Talk Bach. Breaking down the G minor Sonata- on approaching the Adagio” for the Master Class department of the May 2007 issue of Strings.
4/30/07 – Violinist Christian Tetzlaff stepped up when Michael Tilson Thomas had to bow out of conducting most of a recent New World Symphony concert in Miami due to low back pain, reports the Miami Herald. “Tilson Thomas' illness meant dropping the Violin Concerto of Gyorgy Ligeti for more familiar fare. Christian Tetzlaff did double duty as soloist and conductor in Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3. Still, whatever leadership he gave the players must have been confined to rehearsals, since, with his back to them, he gave no direction at all and barely looked their way. That produced an efficient, if somewhat pallid, accompaniment, though Teztlaff's light timbre and lithe, vital articulation made for an alert reading.”
4/29/07 – According to WTNH (Connecticut), Sidney Rothstein, former conductor and music director of the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, claims he suffered disability-related discrimination, breach of contract and intentional infliction of emotional distress. “At the root of the dispute is whether Rothstein's stroke, and subsequent problems with strength and dexterity in his right arm, made it difficult for musicians to follow his direction. The orchestra board's president says they have high regard for Rothstein, but that his lawsuit has no merit. She says their decision came after musicians in the orchestra raised concerns. Rothstein, who'd been with the RSO since 1996, says the physical difficulties were temporary and he shouldn't have been fired.”
4/29/07 – Violinist Shlomo Mintz closed the 7th European Music Festival in Sofia's Bulgaria Hall with a special concert, reports the Sofia News Agency. He played the Brahms Violin Concerto with the symphony orchestra of the Classic FM Radio.
4/27/07 – Admittedly, this is not violin-related news, but who could resist reading a Philadelphia Inquirer review of a recital by Evgeny Kissin in which the pianist played 10 encores? "Ten encores. Some swore they heard 11 at Evgeny Kissin's Kimmel Center recital on Wednesday. Audiences could have left after the substantial printed program of Beethoven, Brahms and Chopin and not have felt shortchanged. But Kissin obligingly returned to the stage again and again, playing for another hour. Were that many encores healthy?"
5/17/07 – The San Francisco Symphony will launch a brief tour with a performance in New York. After a second New York performance, the orchestra will perform twice in Vienna and twice in Prague.
5/2/07 – The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Elgin Symphony Orchestra wrapped up its Aaron Copland: American Icon festival. “Over the course of six programs, supported by a $10,000 grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, Elgin and its music director Robert Hanson are offering performances, lectures and discussions of Copland’s illustrious and controversial life,” The festival included the program ‘Copland and the Cold War,’ which included local actors re-enacting Copland’s recently released 1953 testimony during hearings of the McCarthy Committee, where Copland was accused of having Communist sympathies. The festival will also include concerts by ESO Concertmaster Isabella Lippi.
4/29/07 - The Las Vegas Sun reports that the Las Vegas Philharmonic is losing its founding music director, Hal Weller. “In nine years the 66-year-old maestro has done what many said was impossible. He built an orchestra that feeds Las Vegas audiences a steady diet of classics ... And he created dependable seasons that put the orchestra on firm financial footing.” Concertmaster Dee Ann Letourneau comments: “[Weller] created a culture for this organization when it was almost impossible to do that in this town.”
At a concert in Chicago, I think, he played 16 encores....
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