“I conduct faster, and the face disappears”

rostropovich.jpg I loved the bit from the NY Times obit for the great, recently-late, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, of his close relationship to Dmitri Shostakovich, “Sometimes when I’m conducting, I see his face coming to me. Sometimes it’s not really a happy face.  I conduct maybe a bit too slow. So I conduct faster, and the face disappears.”

New England Conservatory has posted a rare, February 1987 recording of Rostropovich conducting the NEC Symphony Orchestra. The story has it that Rotropovich was taking a break from rehearsals with the BSO, with whom he was performing, to step across the street, pick up his baton, and lead NEC students as they sightread Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony. Click here to listen to the rehearsal. (note: the audio buffers slowly. you may want to wait until the whole thing loads before playing it to avoid annoying hiccups.)