Rostropovich: The Musical Life of the Great Cellist, Teacher, and Legend (英語) ハードカバー – 2008/1
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When renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich died less than a year ago at the age of eighty, the world lost not only an extraordinary musician but an accomplished conductor, an outsize personality, and a courageous human being. It is not an exaggeration to say that the history of the cello in the twentieth century would be unthinkable without the name of Mstislav Rostropovich, writes Elizabeth Wilson. He has seemed to me like a personification of the cello itself. Ms. Wilson, a former student of Slava and the acclaimed biographer of both Shostakovich and Jacqueline du Pre, has written the definitive biography of the master. Rostropovich teems with entertaining anecdotes and therefore brings the reader as close as one can get to the method and psychology of Rostropovich's playing and teaching. In his native Moscow, his fame as a performer was nearly equaled by his reputation as a teacher.
Will help readers understand his teaching methods and playing psychology.--Graham Pellettieri "Strings "
A fitting tribute to the greatest cellist of his time.--Pamela Margles "The Whole Note, (Www.Thewholenote.Com) "
Recommended for all music collections.--Larry Lipkis, Moravian College, PA "Library Journal "
Loving biography of a warm, caring teacher, performer, and family man who will long be remembered for...his music.--Alan Hirsch "Booklist "
This is an extraordinary book about the musical and cultural environment in the Soviet Union that produced Mr. Rostropovich.--Priscilla S. Taylor "The Washington Times "
Part memoir, part history...has a researcher's diligence mixed with an unapologetic personal touch and an artist's idealism.--Kenneth Young "The Buffalo News "
Readers will be persuaded that Mstislav Rostopovich was every bit as grand and wonderful and humane as [Wilson] portrays him.--Michael Dirda "The Review of Higher Education "
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I was familiar with Rostropovich's life as a Soviet artist and his relationships with Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Ms. Wilson's book filled in all of my knowledge gaps covering Rostropovich's early life and the early death of his father Leopold which forced the young cellist to teach to support his family. She follows his steady progress as a performer as his reputation builds. Eschewing a formal biography Ms. Wilson continues by relating Rostropovich at work with Prokofiev and Shostakovich. In the case of Prokofiev, Rostropovich was instrumental in the creation of the Sinfonia Concertante and the Cello Concertino. I enjoyed reading about Rostropovich's partnership with Benjamin Britten that led to the Cello Symphony and the Cello Suites. I gained some insight into Mr. Britten, particularly as a performer and how he stood by Rostropovich when the cellist had problems with the Soviet government.
The largest part of Ms. Wilson's book explores Rostropovich the teacher following this students as they are confronted and cajoled, learning as much about life as the cello from their professor. There are short chapters devoted to reminiscences by several Rostropovich students as they recount the trials and rewards that came from working with him. There is a wealth of information on performing and performance practice. I found some of the discussion a bit esoteric but I enjoyed learning about Rostropovich's approach to music: learning al there was about the entire work as well as your part in it.
The part of the book that was most poignant were the final chapters as Rostropovich comes to the aid of Alexander Solzhenitsyn giving him a place to live. The backlash by the Soviet government builds as Rostropovich is refused permission to travel and sees his performance schedule cut to nothing. If there was something that the agents of the government thought would irritate and humiliate Rostropovich it was done to him. Reading this part of the book one becomes angry and saddened that someone as principled as Rostropovich became the target of a campaign of government reprisal. I will always recall the image of Rostropovich leaving his home with a suitcase and two cellos with his dog accompanying him on the flight to London in first class.
As Ms. Wilson points out, to cover the years that Mstislav Rostropovich spent in outside his homeland, eventually stripped of his citizenship, is a separate story. She provides us a well written epilogue that takes us to his death a month after his 80th birthday. This book is a marvelous tribute to Mstislav Rostropovich that will even be a companion to his many recordings.
She is as accomplished a writer as she is musician.