Remembering Mstislav Rostropovich
25 November 2009 | Franz Felicius
The Russian city of Samara has hosted a musical event, rare even for classical music fans, of the world’s capitals. Russia’s best musicians have come to town to commemorate the genius cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.
The maestro died two years ago, but people’s love of his personality and talent is becoming no less strong – concerts in different venues of the city were performed to full houses.
The festival was opened by the Mariinsky Theater’s orchestra, conducted by maestro Valery Gergiev. Despite the dense schedule, Gergiev could not but take part in this event – the Rostropovich Memorial Festival.
It’s the second tribute festival to the great musician, both held in Samara. Among the guests of honor were Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s wife and son. Back in 1973, Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife Galina Vishnevskaya chose to protect the writer-dissident before the Soviet authorities, and were immediately punished for it, with all their concerts in country’s most prestigious halls in Moscow, Leningrad, Gorky, Uliyanovsk being transferred to Samara.
The Samara philharmonic society’s hall saw the brightest, and at the same time most bitter, concerts of Rostropovich – the last he gave in Russia before he was forced to leave the country.
The writer’s family remembers this noble gesture, so Natalia Solzhenitsina (the writer’s wife) and pianist and conductor Ignat Solzhenitsyn (the writer’s son) were also spotted among the festival’s guests of honor. Ignat Solzhenitsyn himself took part in the first day’s concert.
The second day’s closing concert was dedicated to Rostropovich’s favorite music and lasted till late at night.
The organizers plan to make festival mobile next year so that more people can have the chance to pay tribute to the great maestro and listen to his timeless music.