Mstislav Rostropovich.

Rostropovich plays Shostakovich

This CD contains previously unknown unique recordings of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Cello concertos. Mstislav Rostropovich is the Cello soloist.

Mstislav Rostropovich, who was one of the greatest 20th-century cellists, studied composition with Dmitri Shostakovich. Their mutual respect soon became a close friendship, and in 1959 Shostakovich dedicated his Cello Concerto No. 1 to Rostropovich, thus making the cellist’s long-time wish come true. Rostropovich learned the piece within a mere four days and duly played it by heart to the astonished composer.

We hear the following music:


  • Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 107, performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Kirill Kondrashin
  • Cello Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 126, recorded live at the Smetana Hall of the Municipal House, Prague, on December 11th, 1967, and performed by the Prague Symphony Orchestra, Yevgeni Svetlanov conducting
  • Cello Sonata in D minor, Op. 40, recorded at the Moscow Radio House, 1959, with Dmitri Shostakovich (piano)
  • Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 107;  Recorded live at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire on October 6, 1959, with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, Aleksandr Gauk conducting

Performed by Mstislav Rostropovich (cello)

Two days after the premiere of the Cello concerto #1, Rostropovich performed the work in Moscow to an enthusiastic audience.

Back in 1959, Rostropovich and Shostakovich recorded the Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor, written by Shostakovich when he was twenty-eight years old. The recording is a fine example of Shostakovich’s continuing piano skills at the time when he no longer gave public performances.

Here is the Shostakovich Cello Concerto No.1 – as performed by Mstislav Rostropovich:

And next, here is the Shostakovich Cello sonata, Op. 40:



This is music that is somewhat difficult to understand upon first hearing. It requires study and repeated listening in order to properly appreciate it.

Tags: Shostakovich, Rostropovich, sonata, Cello concerto