Top 10 Rostropovich recordings

Gramophone Mon 27th February 2017

Ten essential recordings, featuring Rostropovich as cellist and conductor

Kancheli Simi

(ECM)

Focused, even spare, playing from Rostropovich in this bewitching recording of the mystical Simi, by the Georgian composer Giya Kancheli. 

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Britten Cello Suites Nos 1 & 2

(Decca)

Benjamin Britten was just one of the composers inspired by Rostropovich, and he in turn was supremely well served by the cellist.

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Brahms Cello Sonatas

(DG)

Rostropovich’s rich, resonant tone dominates here, but he complements rather than overpowers pianist Rudolf Serkin in a deeply emotional reading.

 

Beethoven Cello Sonatas

(with Sviatoslav Richter)

(EMI/Warner)

This DVD (also on medici.tv), rather than the audio-only rival on Philips, is the Beethoven sonatas set to go for.

 

Shostakovich Cello Concerto No 1

(Sony Classical)

A Rostropovich signature work, this recording with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia finds him on blistering form.

 

Dutilleux & Lutosławski Cello Concertos

(Warner Classics)

A terrific pairing of two works that display all the cellist’s strengths – lyricism, virtuosity and hypnotic concentration.

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Shostakovich Symphony No 11

(LSO Live)

Rostropovich remains one of the leading Shostakovich conductors and here wields the baton at the Barbican in a shattering interpretation.

 

Shostakovich Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk

(Warner Classics)

Slava conducts his wife Galina Vishnevskaya in Shostakovich’s razor-sharp satirical opera.

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Bach Cello Suites

(Warner Classics)

As iconic a recording of this towering masterpiece as was Casals’ in an earlier era. Emotion writ large, played with an extraordinary passion.

 

Mstislav Rostropovich – Cellist of the Century

A new beautifully presented box-set from Warner Classics, containing 40 CDs, 3 DVDs and a 200-page booklet.

 

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