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eMusic Features


Mstislav Rostropovich: The Last Superstar Of Classical Music

By Justin Davidson, Contributor

In 1943, Mstislav Rostropovich, already a famously incandescent young cellist but an indifferent pianist and composer, sat down at a keyboard in the Moscow Conservatory and banged nervously through a piano concerto he had written. He had an audience of one: Dmitri Shostakovich. The composer was noncommittal about the piece, but he became Rostropovich's neighbor, regular collaborator and close friend. It was one of the most significant meetings in 20th-century musical history. Shostakovich dedicated both… more »


The Wolf at the Door: Stalin and Prokofiev

By Michael Azerrad, Contributor

Peter and the Wolf is one of the enduring favorites of children's music. Generations of children have sat in rapt attention, listening to the tale of the plucky Peter and the scary wolf, while at the same time learning the basics of the orchestra. How ironic, then, that this benign classic, beloved of millions the world over, is actually the product of tyranny, repression and fear. In 1936, Natalia Sats, director of the Soviet-sanctioned Moscow Central… more »