During the Cold War, one of the few ways that a dissent could be heard from within the Soviet Union was through the voice of prominent, famous musicians – musicians who only spoke through their instruments and their music, like Shostakovitch.

Mistislav Rostropovich was one of the last remaining individuals from these tumultuous times. Individuals like this truly show the connection between music, politics, and human culture. Music is, as Michael Tilson Thomas is fond of stating, a snapshot of how people see themselves through the annals of history. Mistislav’s passing is met with sadness, and much reverence.

2 thoughts on “Slava”

  1. I hadn’t heard this news – it hits with real sadness, because Slava’s spirit inspired me so much. I will never forget a performance of Tchaikovsky’s 5th in which he stopped waving the baton and brought his hands together in prayer. This was in the last movement, with flowing triplets in the bass part accompanying this gorgeous chorale theme. It may sound corny, but in his hands, whether conducting or playing the cello, music really became a kind of prayer. Sadness and reverence are my feelings exactly.

  2. I can picture that – and Tchaik’s 5th is one of my favorites.

    I have a recording of Shostakovich’s 4th that Slava did with the NSO, that is to date one of my favorite recordings of all time. This one was recommended to me by Palma during rehearsals at NEC with Simon Rattle, so I’ve always had a clear association with Rostropovich and Shostakovich since then.

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