LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL Archives

CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL@COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL  April 2007

CLASSICAL April 2007

Subject:

Rostropovich Obit

From:

Roger Hecht <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 27 Apr 2007 08:17:07 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (208 lines)

   Mstislav Rostropovich dead at age 80

   By MARTIN STEINBERG and MARIA DANILOVA, Associated Press Writers 

   MOSCOW - Mstislav Rostropovich, the ebullient master cellist who
   courageously fought for the rights of Soviet-era dissidents and
   later triumphantly played Bach suites below the crumbling Berlin
   Wall, has died. He was 80.
   
   Rostropovich died Friday in a Moscow cancer hospital, the
   Itar-Tass news agency reported.  Rostropovich's spokeswoman,
   Natalia Dollezhal, confirmed to The Associated Press that he
   had died but she did not provide other details.
   
   Rostropovich, who resided in Paris after self-imposed exile,
   suffered from intestinal cancer.
   
   His death follows that of another towering Russian - former
   President Boris N. Yeltsin, who led the country from Communism
   to democracy.
   
   "The passing of Mstislav Rostropovich is a bitter blow to our
   culture," said author Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who was sheltered
   by Rostropovich during his bitter fight against Soviet authorities
   in the 1970s.
   
   "He gave Russian culture worldwide fame.  Farewell, beloved
   friend," Solzhenitsyn said, according to ITAR-Tass.
   
   Rostropovich was hospitalized in Paris in early February, and
   after he took a turn for the worst, his family arranged for him
   to be flown back to Russia, longtime manager Ronald Wilford said.
   
   He was treated at a Moscow hospital, and received a visit on
   Feb. 6 by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

   Seven weeks later, he was well enough to attend a celebration
   at the Kremlin on his 80th birthday, but appeared frail.
   
   "I feel myself the happiest man in the world," Rostropovich said
   after slowly rising from his chair during the March 27 celebration.
   "I will be even more happy if this evening will be pleasant for
   you."
   
   Putin then presented him with a medal - the Order of Service to
   the Fatherland.
   
   A bear of a man who hugged practically anyone in sight, "Slava"
   Rostropovich was considered by many to be the successor to Pablo
   Casals as the world's greatest cellist.  He was an effusive
   rather than an intimidating maestro, a teacher who nurtured
   Jacqueline du Pre among many other great cellists.
   
   "He was the most inspiring musician that I have ever known,"
   said David Finckel, the Emerson String Quartet's cellist who
   studied with Rostropovich for nine years.  "He had a way to
   channel his energy through other people, and it was magical."
   
   Rostropovich's opposition to the Communist leaders of his homeland
   started with the denunciations of his teachers, Dmitri Shostakovich
   and Sergei Prokofiev during the Stalin era.

   In the early 1970s under Leonid Brezhnev's regime, Rostropovich
   and his wife, the Bolshoi Opera soprano Galina Vishnevskaya,
   allowed Solzhenitsyn to live in their dacha when Soviet authorities
   were pressuring the author for his dissident writing.
   
   After Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970,
   Rostropovich wrote an open letter to the Soviet media protesting
   the official vilification of the author.
   
   "Explain to me please, why in our literature and art (that) so
   often, people absolutely incompetent in this field have the final
   word?" Rostropovich asserted in the letter that went unpublished.
   
   "I know that after my letter there will be undoubtedly an 'opinion'
   about me, but I am not afraid of it. I openly say what I think.
   Talent, of which we are proud, must not be submitted to the
   assaults of the past."
   
   The couple's fight for cultural freedom resulted in the cancellation
   of concerts, foreign tours and recording projects. Finally, in
   1974, they fled to Paris with their two daughters. Four years
   later, their Soviet citizenship was revoked.

   After arriving in the West, "he was like a little boy, laughing,
   shouting, pinching himself to make sure these really were the
   streets in Paris," the late violinist Yehudi Menuhin recalled
   in the 1996 book "Unfinished Journey: Twenty Years Later."
   
   Still, exile took its toll on Rostropovich's soul.
   
   "When Leonid Brezhnev stripped us of our citizenship in 1978,
   we were obliterated," Rostropovich recalled in a 1997 interview
   in Strad magazine.  "Russia was in my heart - in my mind.  I
   suffered because I knew that until the day I died, I would never
   see Russia or my friends again."
   
   Indeed, he was unable to attend Shostakovich's funeral in 1975.
   
   But in 1989, as the Berlin Wall was being torn down, Rostropovich
   showed up with his cello and played Bach cello suites amid the
   rubble.  The next year, his Soviet citizenship was restored, and
   he made a triumphant return to Russia to perform with Washington's
   National Symphony Orchestra, where he was music director from
   1977 to 1994.
   
   When hardline communists tried to overthrow then-President Mikhail
   Gorbachev in 1991, Rostropovich rushed back to Moscow without a
   visa and spent days in the Russian parliament building to join
   those protesting the coup attempt.
   
   In his early to mid-70s, he still had the energy of a middle-age
   man.  He recorded the six Bach solo suites for the first time
   when he was 70.  Five years later, he performed 16 concerts in
   11 cities in 28 days, crossing the United States twice and logging
   nearly 10,000 miles.
   
   Asked by The Associated Press during the 2002 tour about his
   sleep, he replied in his accented English: "Normally ...  four
   hours for me (is) absolutely enough."
   
   Finckel recalled that after the release of the Bach recordings,
   Rostropovich celebrated with a feast at a hotel until 2 a.m.,
   then reserved a meeting room for 4 a.m.  in order to practice
   his cello.

   Ever the bon vivant with a big smile and twinkling blue eyes,
   he was known for his love of women and drink.
   
   "He is a passionate man and he has a real lust for life, and his
   marriage is stronger because of it," his daughter Olga said when
   asked by the Internet Cello Society in 2003 about his love for
   the five Fs - "fiddles, food, females, friends and fodka." "What
   they have together is very precious and nothing can destroy it."
   
   Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich was born March 27, 1927, in
   Baku, in Soviet Azerbaijan.  His mother was a pianist.  His
   grandfather and father, Leopold, were cellists.  One memorable
   photo shows him as an infant cradled in his father's cello case.
   He started playing the piano at age 4 and took up the cello at
   about 7, later studying at the Moscow Conservatory.
   
   "When I started learning the cello, I fell in love with the
   instrument because it seemed like a voice - my voice," Rostropovich
   told Strad magazine.
   
   He made his public debut as a cellist in 1942 at age 15, and
   gained wide notice in the West nine years later, when the Soviets
   sent him to perform at a festival in Florence, Italy.  Life
   magazine reported the 24-year-old "stirred the audience to warm
   applause." The New York Times critic said his music was "first
   class.  His tone was big, clean and accurate.  ...  His musical
   style seemed to be ardent and intense."
   
   He developed close musical relationships with contemporary
   composers, inspiring some 100 works, from Shostakovich, Prokofiev
   and Benjamin Britten - as well as from some not-so-famous
   composers.
   
   During the 2002 AP interview, he spoke about Shostakovich, who
   endured part of the Nazis' siege of Leningrad and battled for
   individual expression under Stalin.
   
   Suffering is essential for art, Rostropovich said.  "You know
   creators, composers, need a palette for life, a color for life.
   If he (is) only happy with his life, I think that he (does not
   fully) understand what is happiness."
   
   Rostropovich's work for humanity didn't stop with the fall of
   the Soviet Union.  In 1991, he and his wife established the
   Vishnevskaya-Rostropovich Foundation to help to improve the
   health care of children in former Soviet lands.
   
   Rostropovich received numerous awards, including the U.S.
   Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1987 and a knighthood conferred
   on him that year by Queen Elizabeth II on his 60th birthday.
   
   On the cellist's 80th birthday, the government newspaper Rossiiskaya
   Gazeta published a letter the reclusive Solzhenitzyn wrote in
   May 1973 after the author and his wife moved out of the
   Rostropoviches' house.
   
   "Once more I repeat to you and Galiya my delight at your
   steadfastness, with which you endured all the oppression connected
   with me and did not allow me to feel," Solzhenitzyn wrote.  "Once
   again I am grateful for the years of shelter with you, where I
   survived a time that was very stormy for me, but thanks to the
   exceptional circumstances I all the same wrote without interruption."
   
   State-run Rossiya television reported that Rostropovich would
   be buried at Moscow's Novodevichy Cemetery, where Yeltsin was
   laid to rest Wednesday.  Prokofiev and Shostakovich are among
   the leading cultural figures buried there.
   
   In addition to his wife, whom he married in 1955, survivors
   include their daughters Olga and Elena.
   ___
   
   Martin Steinberg contributed to this report from New York.

Roger Hecht

             ***********************************************
The CLASSICAL mailing list is powered by L-Soft's renowned LISTSERV(R)
list management software together with L-Soft's HDMail High Deliverability
Mailer for reliable, lightning fast mail delivery.  For more information,
go to:  http://www.lsoft.com/LISTSERV-powered.html

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
July 1997

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager