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Classical Notes

Rostropovich Remembrances

Posted at 3:55 PM on April 27, 2007 by Rex Levang


From the many remembrances of Mstislav Rostropovich that have appeared, here are just two, from Washington, the U. S. city that knew him best: an online chat with music critic Tim Page, and an obituary which includes this anecdote:

He demanded much of his orchestra. In return, he offered loyalty and friendship, not only to his musicians but to the support staff.

In 1982 a stagehand named Bull McNeil, who traveled with the orchestra, died. At the Alexandria funeral parlor where the wake was being held, Rostropovich showed up unannounced with his cello shortly before closing time. He walked over to the open coffin, said a short prayer, played some music on the cello and then left, in silence.