Mstislav Rostropovich, 1927-2007
April 27, 2007 at 6:25 PMThe world has lost one of its voices, a voice both beautiful and bold.
The great cellist and humanitarian, Mstislav Rostropovich, died today in Moscow at the age of 80.
"When I started learning the cello, I fell in love with the instrument because it seemed like a voice - my voice," Rostropovich once told Strad magazine.
Rostropovich's voice was unmistakable.
In 2000 I had the incredible privilege of playing in the Pasadena Symphony as we accompanied Rostropovich. I knew a few of his recordings, namely the Brahms Double Concerto, with David Oistrakh, made some half a century before. I didn't realize how distinct his playing was until I heard it live: I recognized it in an instant.
I was stunned by the sound pouring from Rostropovich's cello. Whatever his age, wherever he was, it was absolutely his voice.
It was a clear, unmistakable voice, used without hesitation, on stage and out in the world.
He spent much of his life in the Soviet Union, a place not amenable to the voice of the individual, or to those who would make a statement and take a stand.
Yet he did: he sheltered author Alexander Solzhenitsyn during his bitter fight against Soviet authorities in the 1970s, and for doing so, was forced to leave his beloved Russia and stripped of his citizenship by Leonid Brezhnev in 1978. When the Berlin Wall came down, he placed himself in front of the rubble and played Bach.
Those walls do fall. And people like Rostropovich stand.
From Karin LinI love the last line you wrote, Laurie. May he rest in peace.
Posted on April 27, 2007 at 6:38 PM
From benny atkinsonI am very moved today at the passing away of a great musician. His music will stay with us always. Good bye dear maestro, R.I.P.
Posted on April 27, 2007 at 9:10 PM
From Gennady FilimonovWe have played with him just a few months ago. And he was as great as ever.
Posted on April 27, 2007 at 10:36 PM
He shall remain in our hearts and our souls as one of the last great Mohicans of the music world.
From Jim W. MillerHere's video of the Berlin wall Bach courtesy of yet another thread. http://youtube.com/watch?v=zPRDU_KIuZI
Posted on April 28, 2007 at 2:25 AM
A couple years before this I'd read a review of Golytsin's book where he said the wall was coming down. That was so far-fetched. I thought not in my lifetime. Then in only a couple of years there it went, but I was not happy about it at the time, because of what he'd stated it was supposedly a prelude to.
From Laurie NilesOh thank you, Jim! I have for 17 years wanted to see that!
Posted on April 28, 2007 at 5:31 AM
From Laurie NilesI just read on Cello.org that at 8 p.m. tomorrow, Saturday April 28, all cellists in the world are to play Bach suite n°2 in memory of Rostropovich.
Posted on April 28, 2007 at 5:53 AM
They didn't say which time zone, but suggested maybe 8 p.m. wherever you are.
I say we all play some Unaccompanied Bach for Slava, whichever Bach moves you, be it cello or violin music.
If you are a student, you can find Bach from the cello suites in:
Suzuki Book 3, No. 7 "Bourree" (it's from Bach Cello Suite No. 3 in C)
Suzuki Book 5, No. 1 "Gavotte" (from Cello Suite No. 6 in D)
From Maura GeretyThanks Laurie! I'll be at a concert at 8:00, but I'll play some Bach for him today anyway.
Posted on April 28, 2007 at 2:54 PM
From Terez MertesDitto on the comment that that was a beautifully put final line (or two), Laurie. So touching.
Posted on April 28, 2007 at 4:00 PM
And Jim - thanks for the link, that was too cool.
From Jim W. MillerThe link is courtesy of Mischa S.
Posted on April 28, 2007 at 7:02 PM
From Raymond PaulBach, 8 P.M., got it!
Posted on April 28, 2007 at 9:53 PM
He was a real force, so much so that he changed the musical world we live in.
We will all miss him very much.
From Maura GeretyI just played the G minor Adagio, BWV 1001--8 PM two time zones to the east. :)
Posted on April 28, 2007 at 10:50 PM
From Lei ZhangWhat a great musician he was. His music will be enjoyed forever!!
Posted on April 29, 2007 at 4:25 AM
From Samuel ThompsonThank you for writing such a beautiful tribute to one of the world's greatest. Your last line was beautiful...
Posted on April 29, 2007 at 5:34 PM
From Emily GrossmanMy conductor, Randall Fleischer, studied with him and was greatly saddened by his passing. We dedicated this weekend's performances of Verdi's Requiem to him. It was an honor to pay him tribute.
Posted on April 30, 2007 at 5:05 AM
This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
From holiday tunes from Joshua Bell to a biography of Jascha Heifetz's early years in Russia, you'll find plenty of great gift ideas for violinists and violin fans on this year's list.
Laurie Niles is from Pasadena, California. Biography
Please consider supporting Violinist.com by becoming a sponsor, and reaching our dedicated community of violin professionals, students and fans!