Putin Praises Rostropovich at Moscow Sculpture Unveiling

Sunday, April 01, 2012 - 06:00 PM

Mstislav Rostropovich, the cellist and conductor who was an outspoken champion of artistic freedom in the Soviet Union, has been honored with a monument in downtown Moscow.

The bronze and granite statue of Rostropovich with a cello in his hands was unveiled on Thursday in a ceremony attended by politicians, cultural figures, relatives and friends of the musician, The Moscow Times reports. Rostropovich would have been 85 on March 27. 

The sculpture was installed near the former home of the musician, where he lived with his wife, opera singer Galina Vishnevskaya.

Vishnevskaya was in attendance on Thursday along with Vladimir Putin. The president-elect recalled celebrating Rostropovich's 80th birthday with him in the Kremlin in 2007, the year the musician passed away. "I'm proud that I knew Rostropovich," Putin said in his remarks. "He was not only a great musician, he was a great humanist and was just a wonderful person.”

The tribute comes 38 years after the cellist and his family defected to the United States. He was banned from several musical orchestras in his homeland, and his Soviet citizenship was revoked in 1978 because of his public opposition to the Soviet Union's restriction of cultural freedom. He would not return to the Soviet Union until 1990.

Also in observance of Rostropovich’s birthday, several recordings that he made for Decca and Philips have been reissued in a new five-CD set.

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Comments [4]

I've got a recording in my classical collection of ROSTROPOVICH conducting TCHAIKOVSKY'S 6th SYMPHONY and SOUSA'S ''STARS & STRIPES FOREVER'' on the same program in Moscow.....(QUITE rousing I'd say!)

Apr. 06 2012 02:18 PM
Joyce C. Levy from Boynton Beach, FL

I have, here in my hand, the program from Sunday evening, December 19,1971 of the performance by Rostropovich given at C.W. Post Center Auditorium in Brookville, LI, NY. I had been asked to turn pages for his pianist, Alexander Dedukhin by the impresario, Robert Bernstein. What a thrill for me. The first piece he played was Beethoven Cello Sonata #3,Op. 69. This was followed by unaccompanied Bach Suite #3 in C, which I listened to backstage in rapt attention.
Following the intermission, Rostropovich played Shostakovich's Sonata in d minor, Op. 40.It was not easy music for me to read!!!as much as I really wanted to listen to his playing.
Following the concert, he came offstage and handed me his cello while he took his bows. I almost fainted.
Dedukhin signed my program and Rostropovich kissed me on both cheeks and gave me an autographed picture of himself playing the cello. I had learned to say "spacebo" (thank you, in Russian), and it is an evening I have treasured all these years since. A great, ebullient man, who seemed to love everybody around him.
I never knew he came from Kiev. That is where my father's family was from.
So. unknowingly, I share something from my past with him.

After the intermission he plaed Shostakovich

Apr. 03 2012 01:49 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Premiere Josef Stalin and the Communist Party were in full command of everything in the press and on the radio and TV and Stalin, a bully and self-"educated" with street smarts could not comprehend the existence of melody in anything but the simplest tunes. He directed the Bolshoi and the other opera and symphony organizations NOT to PLAY the works of Prokofieff and Shostakovich and many other illustrious composers who did not toe the party line. I got to do the title role of Alexis in the American Premiere of the Prokofieff opera The Gambler based on the play by Fyodor Dostoievsky. The role of Alexis was Dostoievsky in real life as a gambler at the kurhaus, gambling casino, of Wiesbbaden, Germany. His anguish of being a loser at gambling and in love-making were the essential ingredients for his setting his real life experience to a play format, a dramaturgical masterpiece I am an opera composer, "Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare," and a Wagnerian heldentenor and the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute. At my website, www.WagnerOpera.com, one may download at "Recorded Selections" free, 37 complete selections from the over one hundred I have sung in four three hour long solo concerts in the main hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium, of Carnegie Hall. They are all LIVE performances.

Apr. 03 2012 11:10 AM
Eriks Dukats from 60068

Putin's a fascist pig !

Apr. 02 2012 06:13 AM

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