Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Johann Strauss, Edvard Grieg, Niccolò Paganini, Sergey Prokofiev, George Gershwin, John Pilip Sousa
National Symphony Orchestra
Mstislav Rostropovich, conductor
Live Recorded in Moscow, 13-14/02/1990
This concert has been recorded in Moscow in 1990 and marks Rostropovich’s return in Russia after an exile lasted many years, from 1978, when the Soviet government withdrew his and his wife’s citizenship.
Rostropovich performs here music from Tchaikovsky, Strauss, Grieg, Paganini, Prokofiev, Gershwin and Sousa. The first part of the concert is entirely dedicated to Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6. I spend a word here to remember how Rostropovich contributed to restore Tchaikovsky’s authentic style after a wrong tradition had corrupted it with romantic excesses and I note how the execution proposed here reflects this new approach. Rostropovich’s fine interpretation is uncommon, he never falls in any kind of excesses and knows how to give to every piece the right value, with innovative results. I like to remember the liveliness of the first movement’s finale, where there is no rashness, and the refinement which characterizes the themes of the last movement.
The second part of the concert alternates funny and apparently disengaged pieces (such as the last one, The Stars and Stripes Forever by John Philip Sousa) to pieces of undisputable depth, as Prokofiev’s Tybalt’s death, so rich in pathos.