I've gathered many versions of this piece over the last twenty years...and have always found new insights with each new recording (to a greater or lesser extent - the World Premiere recording is hors de concours of course, honorary mentions to Isserlis and Wispelwey, "could try harder" to Ma, though that's more Zinman's fault I think)...but this is the version to which I always return. Not only do we have the privilege of the composer conducting and the dedicatee playing the solo part - not only do we have Decca sound of almost perfect clarity, penetration and balance (long before a certain German record company's '4G' monstrosities pretended to be the ultimate in listening perfection) - not only do we have the ECO on absolutely top form, not just as an orchestral ensemble but as a collection of soloists interplaying with Rostropovich under Britten's sensitive and insightful direction - but to my ears (and brain and heart and soul) I think we have revealed to us something of immense, breathtaking depth, strength and impact.
Read William Faulkner's Nobel Prize acceptance speech from December 1950 - in it he says "I believe man will not merely endure: he will prevail". That's the feeling I get from this performance of this 20th Century Cello Masterpiece. Try it ;-))