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Rostropovich - The Complete EMI Recordings (28 CDs) Box set

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Audio CD, Box set, January 13, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The cellist of the 20th century? Hands down: Rostropovich. He was also a respected conductor, fine pianist and indefatigable fighter for his fellow Russians amidst the Soviet regime-but it's his cello mastery that's on grand display here. Both versions of the Brahms Double Concerto made with Oistrakh & Szell in '69 and Perlman & Haitink in '79 join the Dvorak Concerto with Boult in '57 and Giulini in '77; the Saint-Saens Concerto No. 1 with Sargent in '56 and Giulini in '77; the Bach Cello Suites (on CD and DVD); 13 CDs of The Russian Years (which he brought with him to EMI); a wonderful documentary DVD, and much more!

About the Artist

Mstislav Rostropovich was born on March 27, 1927, and died from cancer a month after his 80th birthday. He was without a shadow of a doubt the leading cellist of the 20th century, not to mention an excellent conductor and piano accompanist to his wife, the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya. But what set him even further apart was his deep commitment to humanity, his dedication to the people of his native Russia, and his courageous stand against the Soviet empire (his support of dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn and others led him to have his citizenship revoked by the Communist regime).

The remarkable enthusiasm and virtuosity with which "Slava" played inspired numerous composers to write for him. He reserved his highest praise for composers Sergei Prokofiev, who died on the same day as Stalin Mar 5, 1953), Dmitri Shostakovich (died Aug 9, 1975), and Benjamin Britten (died Dec 4, 1976). Both Rostropovich and Shostakovich had lost their fathers while teenagers, so when Shostakovich became his teacher he was more of a surrogate father, and you may imagine his anguish at not being able to return to Moscow for the funeral (having been stripped of his citizenship); it was thus at Britten's funeral service that he could give vent to his sadness at the loss of both great friends.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 13, 2009)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 28
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B001EX5CHI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,430 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Reichmann on March 16, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Here are 28 discs, all recorded for EMI. 13 discs were initially released in a package called The Russian Years. The complete contents of that package may be seen on line at The remaining discs were recorded in the West, most of which are still available on an individual basis.
Purchasers of this huge set will receive TWO performances of major selections such as:
Schumann concerto with Bernstein and Rozhdestvensky
Brahms double concerto with Oistrakh and Szell then with Perlman and Haitink
Dvorak concerto with Giulini and Boult
Saint-Saens concerto with Sargent and Giulini
Stauss Don Quixote with Karajan and Kondrashin
Prokofiev Symphony-concerto with Rozhdestvensky and Sargent
Myaskovsky concerto with Sargent and Svetlanov.
There are also 2 discs of the Bach suites and then two DVD discs of the same performance with some narration (4 discs in all).
However, half the discs are not duplicative and they also contain great performances. So, you have to decide how much duplication you can tolerate in relation to other performances you may already own of the major works. But, based on the price (less than $3 per disc), the high quality of the EMI recordings, and the marvelous playing of Rostropovich, this collection does rate 5 stars.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By David A. Wend on May 1, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I have purchased symphonic cycles before but never a set with so many CDs. My collection contained other recordings - the Shostakovich cello concerti and the Prokofiev cello works - but most of the EMI recordings in this set are new to me. This is an impressive tribute to Mstislav Rostropovich but what convinced me to buy it are the 13 CDs that were originally issued as "The Russian Years." These recordings just managed to survive after Slava went into exile (because his name was removed from the tape reels) and they contain some priceless performances. For example, we can hear the world premiere of Benjamin Britten's Cello Symphony conducted by the composer with the Moscow Philharmonic and the world premiere of Shostakovich's Second Cello Concerto. Among other gems is the world premiere of Prokofiev's Cello Sonata with Sviatoslav Richter, the world premiere of Boris Chiakovsky's Cello Concerto and a disc where Slava performs sonatas by Shostakovich, Kabalevsky and Karen Khachaturian with the composers playing the piano. And this is just a sampling of the treasures recorded during Slava's years in Russia.

There are some duplicated performances. Just to mention three: the Dvorak Concerto conducted by Sir Adrian Boult and Carlo Maria Guilini, the Brahms Double Concerto conducted by George Szell (with David Oistrahk) and Bernard Haitink (with Itzhak Perlman) and two of Richard Strauss' Don Quixote with Herbert von Karajan and Kyrill Kondrashin. I found the two different readings of the Dvorak interesting as Guilini adopts a broader tempo than Boult producing an interesting contrast of interpretation.
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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Thorpe on May 29, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Some duplicates, but the comparisons are extremely interesting. Plus this collection provides easy access to many wonderful recordings of works by less than household name composers that one would not purchase separately but which add significantly to the cello repertoire.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The singing strad on August 2, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Any lover of the cello has to have these extraordinary CD's in their collection. Rostropovich proves himself a master of all styles - truly one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century.
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1 of 26 people found the following review helpful By don burton on March 5, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
collection of 17 discs of the great cellist---over 50% of the discs are defective with skips and spastic action in my players and my friend's player.
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