Cellist Mstislav Rostropovich took to the Royal Albert Hall stage on 21 August 1968 in what became a truly historic concert. Playing alongside the State Orchestra of the USSR and under the baton of Soviet conductor Evgeny Svetlanov, Russian-born Rostropovich performed Dvořák’s Cello Concerto.
It was the day of the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia, and protests could be heard around the Royal Albert Hall in London after calls to cancel the concert.
Soviet cellist Rostropovich playing a great Czech piece proved to be a great unifier, and as an encore he performed a solo Bach Sarabande in tears, dedicating it to the Czech people.
What's on at the Proms tonight?
Prom 24: Wednesday 1 August, 7pm
Smyth The Wreckers – On the Cliffs of Cornwall (Prelude to Act 2)
Dvořák Cello Concerto
Richard Strauss Ein Heldenleben
Daniel Müller-Schott (cello)
BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Otto Tausk
The Prom will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3