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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mastercellist performs masterworks, 30 Jun 2009
By 
Serghiou Const (Nicosia, Cyprus) - See all my reviews
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For the reader with an appreciation of classical music and a bent for the cello, this is a dream two CD compilation.

The rationale for the compilation appears on the cover and in the body of the liner note:the compilation comprises legendary recordings by the mastercellist Mstislav Rostropovich between the years 1956 and 1978 and was released to commemorate the 75th birthday anniversary of the artist.

The first disc concerns orchestral works while the second chamber music specifically works for cello and piano, in some instances transcriptions. And though invariably all pieces in both discs possess a gem like quality, I shall confine the argument to the Dvorak and the Schumann cello concertos and the Rachmaninov sonata for piano and cello.

The first disc commences with the Dvorak cello concerto with which I shall begin the discussion. The Dvorak is a magnificent piece of work but in this instance there is something of a benign conspiracy or a small miracle in that the artist performs with the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Herbert von Karajan and not only that but at a time that cellist, conductor and orchestra were at their peak. Of the many recordings of the Dvorak by the artist this is arguably the best but I shall go even further than that and argue that this is possibly the best recording of the work of all times. The Dvorak is immediately followed in the disc by the Schumann which is similarly the best of the cellist's many recordings of the work. There is something of a poetic quality in the Schumann which finds its full expression in the hands of the rare artistic talent of Rostropovich. The first work in the second disc is Rachmaninov's sonata for cello and piano. I feel that I can only do justice to this work by quoting from the liner note:"We hear them (Mstislav Rostropovich and Alexander Dedyukin)first playing the sonata that Sergei Rachmaninov wrote for Brandukov in 1901, a gorgeous work laid out on a lavish scale (almost 32 minutes long) with melody following melody in an almost profligate profusion. Rostropovich has recorded the work complete only once and, despite the close acoustic and the backward balance accorded Dedyukin, it is an overwhelming performance, allowing the themes to blossom without becoming self-indulgent."

Finally , I urge the reader to complement the delight derived from listening to the sublime music by reading the liner note which is profoundly insightful, knowledgeable, sensitive and humane. The reader will be exposed to the musical family of the artist extending to both maternal and paternal grandparents, father and uncle, his prodigal abilities, his being also an accomplished pianist and conductor but importantly for becoming familiar with the high moral stature of the artist.
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93 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Rostropovich, 27 Jun 2003
This two CD set is worth buying for Rostropovich's interpretation of the Schumann cello concerto alone. The Schumann has been recorded by all the big names and as a result there are many fine versions available. However, none of them compare to this one... duPre has the strengh and power but lacks refinement... Isserlis sacrifices intensity for technical perfection... Yo Yo Ma's interpretation is engaging but hardly heart-rending. Only Rostropovich does the music justice. Here passion, sensitivity and longing are united in the most exquisite cello tone imaginable. More than any other this recording communicates the soul of the cello.
The recording of the Dvorak cello concerto included here is widely regarded as definitive and has yet to be surpassed. It makes the perfect companion for the Schumann concerto because in temperament they are opposites. The Dvorak has an extrovert beauty, it's an epic filled with drama and verve and the perfect vehicle for Rostropovich's talent.
Rachmaninov's cello sonata is sublime. This piece has many gorgeous melodies that really allow the instrument to sing and deserves to be better known. Of course, this is arguably the finest interpretation to be heard, better than Truls Mork and Yo Yo Ma anyway. In Rostropovich's hands it's world of emotion is fully realised.
The other works are far more than just "fillers". Glazunov's Chant du Menestral has one of the most haunting and beautiful melodies composed for any instrument. The Tchaikovsky piece is delicate and pretty although not as immediate as the other works. And Chopin's Polonaise Brilliante is a thrilling virtuoso showpiece that exhibits Rostropovich's phenomenal technique.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars exceptional, 8 July 2013
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This recording is exceptional- no comparison for these particular pieces- outstanding performances- I recommend all music lovers to take the plunge and dive into the ultimate 'cello experience!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good., 4 Feb 2014
By 
Amazon Customer (COLNE, Lancs Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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Very good. Not to be missed. Mstislav Rostropovich really is a master cellist, and he is playing some unusual pieces.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Damaged CD is a diappointment, 15 Dec 2011
By 
JSMR (East Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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To my enormous disappointment and chagrin, CD1 is damaged. The first 54 seconds of the Dvorak Cello Concerto are unplayable and that means that my CD player rejects the entire disc. (I found why this is so by using my computer to find out why the disc was unplayable after my player had rejected it. The PC was able to play the disc and I timed the damaged introduction.) On examination of the disc, the damage appears to my eyes to be a flaw on the inner edge of the disc playing area to be two short thickish grooves. They are not scratches. The damage must have been done either when the disc was manufactured or was being placed onto its holder because the entire two disc set was sealed in its cellophane wrapper and neither disc had any other abrasions or finger marks.

I have, therefore, had to go to the expense of ordering another set. Something which, as an OAP I wish I did not have to. However, the music is sublime and I must have it. Hence the 4 stars although the damage and the extra expense really only merit 1 star, if that.

And for those who think I should have returned the set to ask for it to be replaced the answer is, well, you try doing tha when the cellophane seal has been broken and the the set opened. How could I prove that that the damage was done i manufacture/packing?

Oh, well, it is the first time in memory that I have found a damaged disc in a new sealed package. But that's slim consolation.
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