"The greatest cellist of modern time" -- well, who could argue with a statement like that? After all, Mstislav Rostropovich is a supreme virtuoso, a charismatic performer, and a sublime interpreter and virtually every one of his recordings is as good as it gets for the repertoire. The key word, of course, is virtually: while Rostropovich's Dvorák concerto with Karajan, his Beethoven sonatas with Richter, his Brahms sonatas with Serkin, and above all his Shostakovich sonata with Shostakovich are definitive, can one say the same of his Boccherini, Vivaldi, and Tartini concertos with Paul Sacher? Or could one say that Rostropovich does not so much play the music of the great Italian Baroque composers as overwhelm it, that his virtuosity, his charisma, and his interpretations are more than the music can bear and that the listener is left not with fond memories of the music but instead with the overpowering impression of an unstoppable musical personality having his way with the music. The results are initially awe-inspiring but may ultimately prove to some to be empty. Accompanied -- the more appropriate word might be enabled -- by Sacher and the Collegium Musicum Zürich, the greatest cellist of modern times came, saw, and conquered the finest cello concertos of Baroque times. Whether that's a good thing or not is up to the listener. Deutsche Grammophon's late stereo sound is utterly transparent but perhaps places the microphones a bit too close to the soloists.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Cello Concerto in D major, G. 479|
|Cello Concerto, for cello, strings & continuo in C major, RV 398|
|Cello Concerto in A major|
|Cello Concerto, for cello, strings & continuo in G major, RV 413|