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Classical - Released January 1, 2012 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
In the early 1960s, when Rostropovich was just beginning his international career, he made a handful of recordings for Decca. This 2012 box -- issued for what would have been his 85th birthday -- brings those albums together. It includes all of the works Benjamin Britten specifically wrote for Rostropovich: the two suites, the sonata, and the Symphony for cello and orchestra, accompanied or conducted by the composer himself, making these definitive versions. There are also other sonatas they collaborated on, including Schubert's "Arpeggione" Sonata, which was apparently one of Rostropovich's favorites of all his recordings. The Beethoven cello sonatas make up two of the set's discs, and in these, Rostropovich was accompanied by another, slightly older Russian also just beginning a notable international career: Sviatoslav Richter. Any student of the cello would do well to hear these historically important, superlative performances.

Classical - Released March 24, 2017 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama
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Classical - Released September 2, 2002 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released October 19, 2009 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
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Classical - Released January 1, 1999 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released February 15, 2002 | Warner Classics

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The Soviet censors' condemnation of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk just a few years after its wildly popular premiere effectively crushed Shostakovich's operatic career, a genuine musical tragedy, because Lady Macbeth and its predecessor, The Nose, reveal Shostakovich to have all the instincts of a born opera composer. Shostakovich made a revised version, Katerina Ismailova, in 1962, that toned down the opera's sexual and political content, but this 1979 recording by two of the composer's fiercest allies, conductor Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife, soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, is the first of original version, and it's a knock-out. Rostropovich fully embraces the score's ironically manic juxtapositions of the opera's first three acts, as well as the heartfelt anguish of its fourth act. The London Philharmonic Orchestra and Ambrosian Opera Chorus wholeheartedly throw themselves behind Rostropovich's inspired leadership and perform with ferocious passion, and occasionally, with an almost shocking wildness. If the performances seen by Stalin and his minions came close to the intensity of this one, it's easy to see why, with their buttoned-up sensibilities, they would have taken offense. The singers, from the leads down to those with the briefest solos, are fully invested in their roles and deliver performances that are beautifully sung and memorably characterized. Vishnevskaya was hardly in the bloom of youth when the recording was made, but you'd never know it from the freshness, flexibility, and radiant clarity of her voice. She invests the complex title role with impetuous vitality and makes Katerina entirely believable. Nicolai Gedda is at his caddish best as her lover Sergey, singing with abandon but without ever losing his pure and focused tone. Most of the singers in the secondary roles, Dimiter Petkov as Boris Ismailov, Werner Krenn as Zinoviy Ismailov, Robert Tear as the Shabby Peasant, Birgit Finnilä as Sonyetka, Aage Haugland as the Sergeant, Leonard Mróz as the Priest, and Alexander Malta as the Old Convict, were stars in their own right, and all of them deliver star performances, both vocally and in the aptness of their characterizations. EMI's sound is clear and vivid, and the sound effects are especially sophisticated and effective. This outstanding recording should be of strong interest to any fan of new opera, or any opera fan.
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Classical - Released January 5, 1995 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released March 24, 2017 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released April 7, 2015 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released March 24, 2017 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released March 24, 2017 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 1983 | Deutsche Grammophon Classics

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Classical - Released January 16, 1996 | Warner Classics

Owners of Rostropovich's 1995 set of Bach's cello suites should note that this EMI Classics issue matches the box's first disc and offers nothing different. Rostropovich's interpretations may be considered reverent but idiosyncratic, based as they are on his subjective associations of emotions and spiritual qualities with the musical characters of the suites. This may appeal to listeners who like rapt, mystical readings, though skeptics may find that expression can be elusive in Bach and harder to identify than Rostropovich supposes. Even so, Rostropovich's innate musicianship and sincerity make these performances fairly enjoyable, and one need not take his intentions too seriously. One drawback of the recordings, however, is the resonance of the Basilique Sainte-Madeleine, Vézelay, a live acoustic that covers a few sins of intonation and scratchy bowing, but unforgivably blurs Bach's rhythms and contrapuntal voicings. Its aural halo is a distraction on the CD.
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Classical - Released March 24, 2017 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released March 24, 2017 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released March 24, 2017 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released March 15, 2019 | Profil

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Concertos - Released March 1, 2008 | Warner Classics International

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Classical - Released March 3, 2003 | Warner Classics