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Search story title words: death
The death of Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich
arts and media |
Friday April 27, 2007 13:30 by obit
The death of Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich the world famed cellist hsa been reported. He was 80 years of age. With his passing the age of great cellists ends. It is odd that this week the world has turned to writing obituaries of Boris Yeltsin and recalling the foiled coup d'etat attempt which brought Yeltsin to prominence. But many will not know that Rostropovich known as Slava to his students, admirers and friends was one of the key figures within Moscow's government buildings who inspired Yeltsin to climb up on the tank. If Slava had climbed up on the tank - things would have been different. He was a master who knew that. May he rest in Peace.
He led. He brought us to tears, joy, passion, love, life & art. Always for Liberty. RIP
The 20th century saw intepretation, teaching, and performance of the instrument shared between 2 towering figures. The former the Catalan Pau Casals followed the 2nd Spanish republic into exile. The latter lived at first under the tyranny of the Soviet Empire and then later as chosen performer of the works of Shostakovich became a musical voice for freedom.
Rostropovitch was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, then part of the Soviet Union. From 1943 to 1948, he studied at the Moscow Conservatory under such luminaries as Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev. He was to form a life long friendship with Shostakovich being chosen to premier or conduct many of his works. By doing such all his life he also ensured the suffering of artists and intellectuals under the Soviet Empire and thus the suffering and oppression of all peoples under that empire were not to be forgotten.
(c/f http://indymedia.ie/article/75095 )
Rostropovitch became professor of cello in Moscow in 1956. His career had been meteoritic : "Rostropovich gave his first cello concert in 1942. He won first prize at the international Music Awards of Prague and Budapest in 1947, 1949 and 1950. In 1950, at the age of 23 he was awarded what was then considered the highest distinction in the Soviet Union, the Stalin Prize. At that time, Rostropovich was already well known in his country and while actively pursuing his solo career, he taught at the Leningrad Conservatory (now Saint-Petersburg) and the Moscow Conservatory. In 1955, he married Galina Vishnevskaya, soprano at the Bolshoi Theatre.
As such Rostropovich had risen to the peak of the Soviet artistic meritocracy but like many of his heros was to suffer alienation and persecution.
His international career began in the early 1960's with tours of the then West Germany as conductor of the Bolshoi Ballet. This was a time of defections when the Ballet was filled with many talented and not unbeautiful young people of high intelligence, skill, stamina and ability.
As key members of the securocracy of the West went to Moscow to the embarrassment of Western states and organisations such as MI6, DGSE and the CIA. The West tempted dancers and artists to linger on past their concert dates.
Rostropovich was never a traitor to either his country or its state. Nor could Rostropovich ever be desscribed as a dupe of either world system then locked in the stalemate and proxy conflicts of the Cold War era. Rather Mstislav Rostropovich became a beacon for freedom, democracy and Art without borders.
His friendship with the dissident Soviet writer, historian and dramatist Alexander Solzhenitsyn (born 1918) was perhaps the association which brought the Soviet Authorities to revoke his citizenship in 1978. But by that stage Rostropovich,his wife and children had already made their home in the USA where his influence would soon make its mark on a generation of musicians and artists most notably at the Juliard School and in Washington DC.
Rostropovich had an instinct or a need to be a the right place and the right time. Or perhaps to help make the wrong place and wrong time the correct one.
In 1989 on November 9th, the wall which had divided Berlin into "West" and "East" was taken apart by the citizens of Berlin. This was one of the most important events of modern history. Yet its true importance is so often overlooked. Neither side planned or organised the event. Neither Bush (senior) nor Gorbachev had any inkling that the wall would be demolished by the people. The events which led up to the destruction of the barrier had included a press conference by a then minister of East Germany (DDR) who accidently said his government no longer saw a need for the wall. A simple mistake would be the first note of a symphony of liberty. Within 100 hours the Berlin Wall was nothing more than a souvenir. And on the rubble Mistlav Rostropovich played his cello "the 1711 Duport Stradivarius", a simple box of wood with metal strings which is still a mystery of acoustic engineering which may give voice to angels. http://indymedia.ie/article/62069
In his final years Slava won many awards and glittering ribbons.
Included were :-
the French Legion of Honour.
Enough honorary doctorates from universities to write really good prescriptions.
An ambassadorship for the UNESCO, he supported many educational and cultural projects. Rostropovich became a close friend of Queen Sofia of Spain and picked up all their gongs.
But showed special delight to receive the Jordi Cross from the government of Catalonia (its highest reward) the second cellist to recieve their highest honour (the first being Pau Casals).
[This obituary writer helped in the translation of his acceptance speech & still considers it a great honour to have exchanged short correspondence and enjoyed allbeit brief contact with the man & his beliefs, passion and commitment & play a small part in ensuring his music, the music of Casals, the music of Shostakovich be understood for what it was and is. A global language of both philosophical and spiritual value - the essence of Art - without which we may never build a free society.]
Art without Borders!
May He Rest in Peace & Liberty.
You Sir passed your Torch .:.
last link to an interview on Artists' responsibiities in the face of Tyranny or Oppression