April 30, 2007
Mstislav Rostropovich, who died Friday, was more than a musician; he was a person who helped change the world. He used culture as a concrete, flesh-and-blood weapon against evil. Born in what was then the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan in 1927, Rostropovich was, as a cellist and conductor, one of the giants of music. Seek out his 1959 recording of Dmitri Shostakovich's first Cello Concerto, made at Philadelphia's Broadwood Hotel with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
December 7, 2000 |
Anybody who has a problem with the way Mstislav Rostropovich conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra in a program of Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich tonight faces a formidable argument: His interpretations come straight from the mouths of the composers. He knew both - intimately. Shostakovich, particularly, was close. Rostropovich risked the wrath of the Soviet KGB when he smuggled out a microfilmed score of Symphony No. 13, then under scrutiny by censors, so that Eugene Ormandy could conduct the U.S. premiere here in 1970.
April 1, 1995 |
Mstislav Rostropovich wears a sense of history around his shoulders when he conducts the Russian repertoire. After all, he commissioned cello works from Shostakovich and Prokofiev and as a performer was at the very center of Soviet musical life. When he led the Philadelphia Orchestra Thursday, he brought an intensity and idiomatic understanding of Prokofiev's Symphony No. 5 that someone less connected with the source could not match. The music sounded Russian, for one thing, and not as if it were being heard in smoothed-out translation.
December 9, 2000 |
Thanks to the tell-all nature of the information age, there should be no mysteries left unsolved in Shostakovich's Symphony No. 10. The often-tortured, seemingly coded messages of this composer's greatest symphony, which premiered in 1953 as the Soviet Union recovered from war, purges and famine, are revealed on three fronts: Solomon Volkov's book Testimony, which claims the second movement is a diabolical portrait of Joseph Stalin; a recently published...
October 30, 1999 |
A year and a half after her breakup with rocker Tommy Lee, Pamela Anderson says being back home with him is "not all roses," but it is "not a dangerous situation" either. Anderson left her husband in 1998 after a highly publicized fight. Lee pleaded no contest to kicking his then-estranged wife several times during a fight while she held their toddler son, Dylan, now 1 1/2. In the issue of Jane magazine set to hit newsstands next month, Anderson says Lee is learning to communicate better, in part through anger-management classes.
October 29, 1992 |
The New School of Music in Center City died of high ideals and low administrative achievements six years ago, but Temple University is determined to make its death only a transition. Temple will hold a celebratory concert Sunday to help fund the renovation of Rock Hall, the theater named for Milton Rock, university trustee and benefactor whose original $1 million gift enabled Temple to take over the New School's programs. The concert will feature cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and Lambert Orkis, a Temple faculty member who is pianist with Rostropovich's National Symphony and his recital accompanist as well.
September 29, 2004 |
Most cities of cultural depth have a chamber orchestra that gives nice concerts of Handel, Haydn and Mozart. The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia can do that, but more than ever, it goes for singular options. The season-opening program on Monday, for example: Ignat Solzhenitsyn, who has recently ascended from principal conductor to music director, brought his revisionist sensibility to pieces you are accustomed to hearing in the posh sonority of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3 ("Scotch")
November 3, 1992 |
A new recital hall is being readied way up north on Broad Street - stretching the proposed Avenue of the Arts, perhaps, to new limits. It belongs to Temple University's Esther Boyer College of Music and is called Rock Hall after its benefactors Milton Rock and the late Shirley Rock. When completed in January 1994, Rock Hall, on the east side of Broad Street between Cecil B. Moore and Montgomery Avenues, will accommodate 325 listeners. It will feature state-of-the-art acoustics needed to produce videos and sound recordings, a music library, classrooms and sound-proof rehearsal rooms.
October 3, 1989 |
Curtis Institute of Music is marking its 65th birthday this season, and while most of its 65 years have been retiring, it is playing a highly visible and youthful role this year. Coming out of retirement has been a long process for this school. It has, after all, quietly trained three generations of musicians whose names are now among the most notable on the concert stage and in the orchestral world. A stage full of the next generation of instrumentalists played at the Academy of Music last night in the first of the year's celebrations.
September 7, 1994 |
Nothing in Mstislav Rostropovich's tenure as music director of the National Symphony Orchestra matched his leaving of it. In 17 years, the Russian cellist and conductor gave the NSO media prominence, but his overflowing personality and presence far overshadowed his orchestra. Rostropovich took the NSO to Russia in 1990. Cameras followed him, not the orchestra, and when they returned to Russia in 1993, the same thing happened. When it was time to say goodbye, the huge farewell concert and pageant June 17 at the Kennedy Center honored Rostropovich as cellist, humanitarian and personality, while little was said of the slight effect on the orchestra by the man who was probably the highest-paid conductor in America.