Tuesday, May 29, 2007


He didn't just play the cello. Mstislav Rostropovich crusaded for human rights, was a supporter of Soviet-era dissidents, and lived to play his soaring music at the crumbling Berlin Wall. It was a moment of profound musical and political history.
The maestro (who earned praise as a conductor as well as a cellist) lived in Paris, but when his intestinal cancer was beyond hope of a cure, he was allowed to return home to Russia. And if you've given up hope and are about to die, Russia's the place for it.
On February 6th, the musician was visited in the hospital by Vladimir Putin, who never quite made it to the bedside of Alexander Litvinenko. And, unusual for anyone getting a Putin visit, Rostropovich actually improved enough to publicly mark his 80th birthday on March 27th.
"I feel myself the happiest man in the world," he told his admirers. "I will be even more happy if this evening will be pleasant for you." He died a month later, April 27th, 2007.
While I probably have more albums by Jacqueline Du Pre and Ofra Harnoy (the latter due to horny album covers) "Slava" (as his friends called him) was, by pretty much unanimous decree, the heir to Pablo Casals. If you heard his cello on a particular piece of music, it could make you weep. And if you had his cello on a particular piece of your foot, it could make you cry out loud.
Bach's cello suites were divided into five or six parts (uh, sort of like tracks on an album) and might include a bouree (you'll remember the term from your Jethro Tull albums) or a prelude (you'll remember the term from having taken 'ludes). Your sample is the gigue from Cello Suite #5 In C Minor.
This is just the Illfolks way of saying, "We'll miss you, Slava."

GIGUE Instant Download or Listen on Line.

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