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The Yo-Yo Patch of Shostakovich

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M. Rostropovich

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Yo-Yo Ma
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H. Schiff

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M. Kliegel
Yo-Yo Ma and a Shostakovich Cello Concerto (now no.1, op.107, not no.2 as originally planned) last Friday were the only leftover from the November-Shostakovich-Rostropovich bonanza – and it was a welcome addition to the Ravel/Revueltas program where it appeared in place of Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg’s Tchaikovsky performance. I’d like to think that the house was filled to the last seat because of the draw that is Shostakovich – but it was more likely the star power that is the world’s favorite cellist.

Other Reviews:

Joan Reinthaler, Ma's Delicate Shostakovich, Writ Large (Washington Post, November 13)
The concerto more and more reminds me of some of Shostakvoich’s symphonies – it sounds like a Shostakovich chamber-symphony with Cello solo. Yo-Yo Ma’s playing fitted that perfectly. As primus inter pares among the strings, he set the tone with the right combination of tough viscosity yet lightness of touch. It was intelligent, not overtly emotional Shostakovich – and it worked well amid the challenging horn-calls, lamenting, triste second movement theme (lyrical calls, here), the fragility that is punctured with bursts of determination, the picking up of energy in the Cadenza that stands in for a third movement, the wonderful flute section in the fourth movement.

[Update: M.Rostropovich seems to be feeling better - and will conduct a series of concerts in Paris (including Shostakovich). He is, however, advised not to travel extensively (i.e. across the Atlantic) and has of yet no plans to conduct in the U.S.]