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Mstislav Rostropovich

Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No 2; Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations (CD)

Each of the works on this disc is associated with a notable cellist who made a career in Russia: the ‘Rococo Variations’ with the German player Wilhelm Fitzenhagen (1843–90), the ‘Andante cantabile’ with Anatoly Brandukov (1859–1930), the ‘Chant du Ménestrel’ with the Polish player Alexander Wierzbilowicz (1849–1911) and the Shostakovich Concerto with Mstislav Rostropovich (1927–2007) – whose genius as an interpreter knits the whole program together. The main work on this recording is Shostakovich’s Second Concerto – a work on which Rostropovich and the composer collaborated. While the cellist’s recording with Herbert von Karajan is vastly popular, this CD includes Rostropovich’s preferred recording of the work, taped in 1960 with Gennadi Rozhdestvensky. For this alone, this CD is well worth the purchase. Tully Potter provides the insightful liner notes.

Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 126
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Seiji Ozawa

Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33
Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
Gennadi Rozhdestvensky

Andante cantabile, Op. posth.
Berliner Philharmoniker

Chant du Ménestrel, Op. 71
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Seiji Ozawa

Mstislav Rostropovich, cello