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It's all about the music, dude! Sit down, relax and listen to some tunes.

RE: Kabalevsky....

Rostropovich never recorded anything by Kabalevsky other than the sonatas. To my knowledge, there was no animosity between the two. Rostropovich and Kabalevsky recorded the cello sonatas together and later worked together to complete Prokofiev's Concertino for Cello and Orchestra.

When asked why he never recorded the Elgar cello concerto, Rostropovich was quite blunt. He said, after playing/recording the works of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, etc, he felt like the Elgar was more suited to a young cellist (like hus student DuPre) because the Elgar seemed to him naive, the slow movement sounding like the story of "first love."

He also never recorded the Walton concerto. He said he just never got around to it. He did admire Walton and asked Walton to write a piece he could premier. Slava did premier Walton's Passacaglia for cello solo, but never played the cello concerto.

Rostropovich said his greatest regret was that he never recorded Britten's 3rd suite for solo cello. He referred to Britten as one of his composer "gods" along with Shostakovich and Prokofiev. He said he was kept so busy with other projects that he just never found time for it.

Rostropovich gave more than 325 world premiers during his lifetime, among them major works by Gliere, Myaskovsky, Shaporin, Schnittke, shebalin, Boris Tchaikovsky, Weinberg, etc. But he was, of course, constantly called upon to play the warhorses of the standard repertoire in concert. So it's no surprise that there were pieces that we now wish he had recorded, but he never found time for.

I wonder if Kabalevsky had asked Rostropovich to *premier* his cello concertos, Slava would have made room for them, as he did for so many others.

Of course, Rostropovich was horrified by the 1948 Soviet condemnation of some of the major composers (including his teacher, Shostakovich, the head of the Moscow conservatory Myaskovsky, etc) for "formalism." Kabalevsky was also originally on that list of composers to be condemned and he instead convinced the Soviets that his teacher Myaskovsky was really the one to blame, that he had been corrupted by Myaskovsky. After that, Kabalevsky concentrated on childrens music and songs and more conventionally romantic kinds of compositions. Kabalevsky, playing it safe, may have not wanted to be associated with Rostropovich anymore, or Rostropovich may have been angry about Kabalevsky's selling out Myaskovsky, or may have considered Kabalevsky's concertos, like Elgar's, just not substantive enough to support.

There is much we don't know about the sad situation with classical music inside the Soviet Union. But it's hard to fault Rostropovich for the music he never recorded, since he worked so assiduously to promote new composers.



"Life without music is a mistake" (Nietzsche)


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