National Symphony Orchestra Pays Homage to Rostropovich

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

The National Symphony Orchestra, led by Christoph Eschenbach, caps the Spring for Music festival with "A Tribute to Slava." The NSO features works associated with the late cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, who was the orchestra's music director from 1977 to 1994. Rostropovich died in April 2007.

In an interview with WQXR's Naomi Lewin, Eschenbach called Rostropovich "a great idol of mine since my youth," and said that each of the three pieces on this Spring for Music captures an aspect of Rostropovich's reputation as an outspoken political exile as well as a conductor and cellist.

The program features Shchedrin's Slava, Slava (a nod to Rostropovich's nickname); Schnittke's Viola Concerto (with soloist David Aaron Carpenter), and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5. The latter work became the NSO's signature piece during Rostropovich's NSO tenure, with the orchestra performing it in 16 countries on four continents.

Program Details:

Shchedrin: Slava, Slava – A Festive ringing of bells
Alfred Schnittke: Viola Concerto
David Aaron Carpenter, viola


Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5

Below is the archive of our live chat and Twitter conversation:

Comments [1]

Rev Robert Hundley from Washington, DC

When we heard the NSO play this program last week there were so many dimensions of the music that came thru. The political story was one element, when the Stalinist bullied & abused Shostakovich unmercifully, depriving him of his music and his humanity. There was only one student who stood by him: Rostapovich. Once, we were told, Shostakovich was writing a piece of music which became the intro to (Dmitri Shostakovich:) Symphony No. 5 & gave it to the 19 year old Rostapovich: "see how this sounds." So Rostapovich played an incredibly difficult piece of music easily, wh/, he said, I have never played as well since. But the political dynamic was powerful, standing up for a non-totalitarian life. Rostapovich came to Washington for years, but felt he had a obligation to return to USSR and finally he arranged a tour of Russia with the NSO, and it seems to me that the NSO tour broke Russia open, out of the Cold War. Soon there was Perostrokia & Solsinetzian followed. Between Russia & America we still have a way to go, but the Music of Shostakovick & Rostapovich were crucial ways to mutual appreciation. Spkonia Noch

May. 11 2013 09:25 PM

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