Thursday, March 30, 2017 — New York, NY - In partnership with Record Store Day, Warner Classics releases Mstislav Rostropovich on vinyl LP that bears an X-ray image of a spine and pelvis – with a 1966 recording that has its own underground history. When Rostropovich (1927-2007) was exiled from the USSR in the 1970s, a resourceful Soviet archivist saved the original tape from destruction by hiding it in a mislabeled box. It is Rostropovich’s world-premiere performance of the Cello Concerto No. 2 by his teacher and mentor Dmitri Shostakovich, recorded live in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire with the USSR State Symphony Orchestra under Evgeny Svetlanov, on the composer’s 60th birthday.
In the 1950s Roentgenizdat – or X-ray publishing – became a trend in Soviet counterculture. ‘Bone music’ and ‘rock on ribs’ are two other terms that describe these bootleg recordings of music from the West, ingeniously cut onto X-ray film discarded by hospitals.
This is its first ever release on LP, in a numbered, limited-edition pressing of 3,000.
Not only was Rostropovich a towering musician; he became a figure of international humanitarian and political significance when he and his wife, the celebrated soprano Galina Vishnevskaya (1926-2012), were exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974 (and deprived of their Soviet citizenship in 1978) for their support of the dissident writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who won the Nobel Prize in 1970. They left Russia with nothing and did not return until 1990, the era of glasnost and perestroika; Rostropovich played an active role in promoting ideological change during this momentous period in his country’s and the world’s history. In November 1989, at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, he gave an impromptu Bach solo recital at the spot known as Checkpoint Charlie.
The release commemorates ten years since the legendary cellist’s death on 27 April 2007, but also a joyous occasion, celebrating the 10th edition of Record Store Day, an international event devoted to supporting independent record stores, artists and vinyl LPs.
For more information about other releases in the Warner Classics ‘Rostropovich: Cellist of the Century’ anniversary edition, visit www.rostropovich2017.com.
Dmitri Shostakovich 1906-1975
Cello Concerto No. 2 in G, Op.126
Dedicated to Rostropovich
III. Allegretto – Cadenza
Mstislav Rostropovich cello
USSR State Symphony Orchestra
Recorded: 25 September 1966, Great Hall, Moscow Conservatoire
World premiere in presence of the composer