Friday, April 27, 2007

Goodnight Sweet Slava

Later today perhaps I will write more about what the work of the company has been these past few days. For now I just want to share the emotion I felt upon waking up to learn the cellist and conductor Mistislav Rostropovich has died. It isn't sadness for this man that ultimately led a very full life, but rather for what we have lost in his passing. It might surprise some to known I so admired this man, but my love of Bach - and by extension "early" music (a term which I hate, and which seems so innapropriate at times like these) - was through his recording of the cello suites made when he was 70. These are profoundly personal and deeply affecting performances. As he decribes his first feeling upon beginning to study the cello, it was his voice. My deep respect for Rostropovich, and the humility I feel when talking about him, comes more from who he was as a man. He was music as it should be, personified - strong, corageous, filled with humor and depth, good, and always aspiring towards right.

No image depicts this possibility in music more than this photo of Rostropovich playing Bach as the Berlin wall crumbles behind him.

We as a community have lost, in the presence of inevitability, something great and should take a moment to remember.

Here is a link to the Times article. And here is a clip of the prelude from the first Bach cello suite in C. (it auto plays only for today)

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