Mstislav Rostropovich: The Essential Recordings

We choose the best examples of the legendary Russian cellist, Mstislav Rostropovich, on disc

Cellist Mstislav Rostropovich best recordings

Dutilleux & Lutosławski

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Cello Concertos
Mstislav Rostropovich (cello); Orchestre de Paris/Serge Baudo, Witold Lutosławski
Warner 567 8672

Rostropovich excels in two concertos written for him, beguiling in the mysterious soundworld of the Dutilleux and thrilling in the Lutosławski.

Dvořák
Cello Concerto
Mstislav Rostropovich (cello); Berlin Philharmonic/Herbert von Karajan
DG 447 4132

Rostropovich recorded Dvořák’s Concerto several times. This superb version with Karajan followed soon after his dramatic, and historic, BBC Proms performance in 1968.

Shostakovich
Cello Concerto No. 1
Mstislav Rostropovich (cello); Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy

Sony Classical 517 1892

In arguably the most famous concerto written for him, not to mention one of the most fiendishly difficult, Rostropovich delivers a performance of extraordinary passion.

Britten
Cello Symphony
Mstislav Rostropovich (cello); New Philharmonia Orchestra/Benjamin Britten
Decca E425 1002

Britten himself conducts the dark and often deeply unsettling work that he wrote for his great Russian friend in 1963.

Prokofiev
Sinfonia Concertante
Mstislav Rostropovich; Royal Philharmonic/Malcolm Sargent
Warner 380 0132

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Written for a young Rostropovich by a composer in failing health and under the suspicion of the authorities, the cellist is unmatched in reflecting the piece’s bleak origins.