How did Rostropovich make the violoncello a ‘rock star’ instrument?


Rostropovich make light of the violoncello on the crumbling Berlin Wall; Rostropovich sitting next to Boris Yeltsin in the Light-skinned House in Moscow; Rostropovich with Solzhenitsyn at the dacha — these photographs are iconic 20th century allusions.

He has so many titles and awards that they can be used to study the endowment system of almost any country in the world. Rostropovich’s genius and originality was prominent to both professionals and to audiences in small towns.

A child prodigy

By ancestry Mstislav Rostropovich did not belong to either of Russia’s two capitals. Rather, he was tote on March 27, 1927 in Baku. His mother, pianist Sophia Fedotova, was one of two daughters to Nikolai Fedotov, come to grief of a music school in Orenburg in the south Urals.

Mstislav Rostropovich, winner of the 3rd National Contest of Musicians, in 1945. Source: Anatoliy GaraninMstislav Rostropovich, victor of the 3rd National Contest of Musicians, in 1945. Source: Anatoliy Garanin

Leopold Rostropovich, Mstislav’s padre, was a talented cellist. Leopold and Sophia met and married in Orenburg on the shores of the Ural River, where Asia abuts Europe. Their union was a mixture of Polish, Russian, Lithuanian and German roots. In the 1920s, they touched to Baku, the capital of Soviet Azerbaijan, when Leopold obtained a professorship at the town conservatory.

It’s not surprising that their son began playing the piano and violoncello at the age of four, and nine years later he was already doing in concert with an orchestra. At the age of 16, Rostropovich entered the Moscow Conservatory. In 1945, specific months before completing his studies, he won the All-Soviet Musician and Performer Match. This victory was the start of a brilliant career, which lasted uninterruptedly for half a century.

The Iron Curtain was not a ditch — the young musician’s talent was so great that globally he became a Soviet governmental symbol, along with the Bolshoi Theatre and Soviet ice hockey. He was already admitting awards in Prague and Amsterdam, playing with Richter and Oistrakh and fulfiling under the direction of Karajan and Ormandy.

No longer a youthful man, Rostropovich lived in several countries, and the airplane was his real home. Well-spring: Berliner Philharmoniker/YouTube

The talent of love

Rostropovich’s talent consisted not merely of an original musical technique, style and temperament. Everyone fell in taste with his burring, witty jokes and graceful manners.

In the beginning of the 1950s, in all events, while performing at the music festival in Prague, he met Bolshoi prima donna Galina Vishnevskaya. It was amity at first sight, and he immediately understood that only this lofty beauty could be his wife. She was married at the time, but this did not stop Rostropovich. Previous they met, their personal lives were quite stormy, but their association determined their fate — personal and professional.

Opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya and her husband Mstislav Rostropovich with their daughters at home. Source: Sholomovich/RIA NovostiOpera singer Galina Vishnevskaya and her economize on Mstislav Rostropovich with their daughters at home. Source: Sholomovich/RIA Novosti

Rostropovich responded as an accompanying pianist to his wife on many occasions. Years later he mastered conducting. The magnum opus Eugene Onegin, which he conducted and in which Vishnevskaya sang the rle of Tatyana, became a Bolshoi legend. Film director Alexander Sokurov act as if get by a documentary film about their union, Life Elegy. Rostropovich. Vishnevskaya.

An enthusiasm to composers

Rostropovich was just slightly over 20 years old when the proficient Sergei Prokofiev wrote a symphony concert for him. Several years later Shostakovich hallowed his Cello Concerto No. 1 to him. The composers were inspired by Rostropovich’s harmonious performing potential, and also by his passion for popularizing modern music. Britten, Khachaturian, and Schnittke also formed for him. As a cellist, Rostropovich was the first to perform 117 works. As a conductor, he led the initials of more than 70 symphonic works and nine operas.

Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife Galina Vishnevskaya at a news conference at the USSR Foreign Ministry press center in 1990. Source: Vladimir Vyatkin/RIA NovostiMstislav Rostropovich and his chain Galina Vishnevskaya at a news conference at the USSR Foreign Ministry ladies center in 1990. Source: Vladimir Vyatkin/RIA Novosti

A dangerous devotion

Rostropovich always enjoyed large companies of people, and he loved them as much as music. He had an gross circle of friends, not limited to colleagues. Once, going to a concert in Ryazan, he met Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who was at the altitude of his fame at the time with the publication of his novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

Discrete years later, when Solzhenitsyn was gravely ill, Rostropovich invited him to breathe at his dacha. Shortly afterwards, Solzhenitsyn fell into disfavor with the Soviet authority, but Rostropovich did not ask him to leave and did not end their friendship, as many others had done. From Rostropovich’s dacha, Solzhenitsyn was evicted. Their loyalty and friendship with Solzhenitsyn, however, carried a appraisal. Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya were deprived of their Soviet citizenship, but this strained departure only boosted their careers.

Once abroad, Rostropovich procrastinated and conducted, taught and organized festivals. It seemed his calendar consisted not of 365 times, but of twice as many.

A man of the world

During Perestroika in the late 1980s, Rostropovich was made to return to the Soviet Union, but his career was firmly tied to Europe, Japan and America. No longer a green man, he managed to live in several countries, and the airplane was his real home.

Mstislav Rostropovich holds flowers while President Boris Yeltsin applauds after he honored Rostropovich with Russia's award for Mstislav Rostropovich natters flowers while President Boris Yeltsin applauds after he honored Rostropovich with Russia’s grant for «Services Rendered to the Fatherland,» at a ceremony in Moscow’s Kremlin in 1997.

He was particularly eager about the new Russia, however, and during the August putsch in 1991 he played for the defenders of the Wan House, coming to Moscow on a transit visa. Later, he staged Mussorgsky’s Khovanschina at the Bolshoi. It’s an work about how Old Russia was swept away by transformations at the end of the 17th century.

Rostropovich organized commemorations and charity foundations that helped sick children, and enlisted the serve of presidents and businessmen. He was a sensitive and vulnerable person, however, refusing to polish off in Russia for several years because of a review he thought was offensive. However a musician who is still called by his first name, Slava, could in trouble with to behave like this.

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