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London-based cellist Wilson, author of Shostakovich and Jacqueline du Pré, studied with acclaimed cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich (1927–2007) at the Moscow State Conservatory from 1964 to 1971. Noting that the Russian-born Rostropovich dominated the international concert scene for more than half a century, she adds, For nearly as long as this, he has seemed to me like a personification of the cello itself. Her key source is Rostropovich, as she interviewed him in nine cities across Europe over a span of 10 years. Writing with an exacting precision and exhaustive research, she has succeeded in documenting all aspects of his life as a musician and teacher in meticulous detail, taking the reader on a soaring journey that highlights his days with Britten, du Pré (a voyage of discovery by equal masters, an inspired dialogue between two extraordinary artists), Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Other chapters cover his influence and teaching methods and include an insightful analysis of the metaphysical aspect of sound in his music. With arpeggios of anecdotes punctuating her personal memories, Wilson has composed a symphony of sentences, a definitive portrait of the master cellist certain to be greeted with a crescendo of applause from both book lovers and music lovers. 40 b&w photos. (Jan. 4)
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Recommended for all music collections. (Larry Lipkis, Moravian College, PA Library Journal)
A definitive portrait of the master cellist certain to be greeted with a crescendo of applause. (Publishers Weekly)
Comprehensive biography of the late cellist brings together personal anecdotes and important insights into the larger-than-life musician. (Forecast)
Rich portrait of the artistic hothouse that encased Russia's postwar music world....Tale is lovingly told. (Russian Life)
Will help readers understand his teaching methods and playing psychology. (Graham Pellettieri Strings)
Readers will be persuaded that Mstislav Rostopovich was every bit as grand and wonderful and humane as [Wilson] portrays him. (Michael Dirda Review Of Higher Education)
Loving biography of a warm, caring teacher, performer, and family man who will long be remembered for...his music. (Alan Hirsch Booklist)
This is an extraordinary book about the musical and cultural environment in the Soviet Union that produced Mr. Rostropovich. (Priscilla S. Taylor The Washington Times)
Part memoir, part history...has a researcher's diligence mixed with an unapologetic personal touch and an artist's idealism. (Kenneth Young The Buffalo News)
A definitive and in-depth biography. (Midwest Book Review)
A fitting tribute to the greatest cellist of his time. (Pamela Margles The Whole Note, (Www.Thewholenote.Com))
[Wilson] knows her music…This is an extraordinary book about the musical and cultural environment in the Soviet Union that produced Mr. Rostropovich …. [Wilson's] thorough research makes this biography an encyclopedia of an era. (The Washington Times)
Wilson thoroughly examines Rostropovich's rapid rise as a performer and prize winner, his career as a teacher at the Moscow Conservatory where she was his student (1964-71), his association with many leading composers of his time and the resulting significant enlargement of the cello repertory, and his ardent defense of artistic and intellectual freedom...The book's strongest feature is the author's treatment of Rostropovich the teacher....Recommended. (CHOICE, June 2008)