PEOPLE

Jean-Guihen Queyras

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The cellist recalls an inspirational performance by Rostropovich

Rostropovich was like a lion surrounded by armed gladiators

I once saw Rostropovich perform Schnittke’s Third Cello Concerto at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. His playing was fabulous – he was already 65 at the time – but at one point he had a significant memory lapse. The way he handled it was immensely impressive: instead of playing more softly, he played fortissimo open strings for 20 seconds until he was able to get back on track. He was like a lion surrounded by armed gladiators: instead of lying down and giving up, he fought even more fiercely.

Originally published in The Strad, January 2011. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.

Photo: Fumiaka Fujimoto

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