Rostropovich performs Britten, Haydn, Prokofiev and Schumann
Britten - Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68 (1963) - Haydn - Concerto in C for Cello and Orchestra (Cadenzas by Britten) - English Chamber Orchestra / Benjamin Britten - Prokofiev - Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 125 (1952) - Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra / Kurt Sanderling - Schumann - Concerto in A minor for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 129 - Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra / Samuel Samosud / Mstislav Rostropovich, Cello
Mstislav Rostropovich's musical calling card was long the revised version of Prokofiev's 1933-38 Cello Concerto, Op. 58, the Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 125 (Symphony-Concerto or Sinfonia Concertante), inspired by and dedicated to the cellist. Britten followed suit in 1963 with his Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68, which, of course, is also dedicated to Rostropovich. It's a great work which should be better known - although it appears at long last to have grown in reputation.
Rostropovich recorded the Prokofiev Symphony-Concerto a number of times. For example, there is the very fine 1959 reading with Malcolm Sargent and the Royal Philharmonic. But for this listener - all performing aspects considered (conducting, solo and orchestral playing) - Rostropovich's 1954 performance of this work with the Leningrad Philharmonic under the great German conductor Kurt Sanderling remains the most idiomatic, and thus the more satisfying one. For a long time I only knew this recording from a Monitor issue with highly flawed sound (whether resulting from a defective master or a manufacturing problem, I've no idea). What is being offered here, however, is a newly remastered version of the same recording without the flaws of the Monitor issue. While the 1954 recording may not have the cosmetically "modern" sound of the later one described above, it gains considerably, on the other hand, in intensity, excitement - and sheer bite.
LP transfer of material issued 1963 (London / Decca); remastered material recorded 1954; c.mid-1950s.