S0674. MSTISLAV ROSTROPOVICH, w.Erich Leinsdorf Cond. Boston Symphony Orchestra: Cello Concerto in C (Haydn), Live Performance, 22 Oct., 1965; SAMUEL MAYES, w.Dmitri Kabalevsky Cond. Boston Symphony Orch.: Cello Concerto #1 in g, Op.49 (Cond. by the Composer), Live Performance, 14 Nov., 1959, Symphony Hall, Boston. (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-304. [Never previously issued.] Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Mstislav Rostropovich, the cellist and conductor was renowned not only as one of the great instrumentalists of the 20th century but also as an outspoken champion of artistic freedom in the Soviet Union during the last decades of the cold war.
As a cellist, Mr. Rostropovich played a vast repertory that included works written for him by some of the 20th century’s greatest composers. Among them were Shostakovich’s Cello Concertos; Prokofiev’s Cello Concerto, Cello Sonata and Symphony-Concerto; and Britten’s Sonata, Cello Symphony and three Suites. Perhaps because his repertory was so broad, Mr. Rostropovich was able to make his cello sing in an extraordinary range of musical accents. In the big Romantic showpieces — the Dvorák, Schumann, Saint-Säens and Elgar concertos, for example — he dazzled listeners with both his richly personalized interpretations and a majestic warmth of tone. He could be a firebrand in contemporary works, and he seemed to enjoy producing the unusual timbres that modernist composers often demanded. He played the premieres of solo works by William Walton, Georges Auric, Dmitri Kabalevsky and Nikolai Miaskovsky, as well as concertos by Alfred Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, Krzysztof Penderecki and Lukas Foss, among others.
He also studied composition with Shostakovich, and continued to do so even after the Soviet authorities condemned both Shostakovich and Prokofiev for ‘formalist perversions and antidemocratic tendencies’. He later studied composition privately with Prokofiev, and although Mr. Rostropovich’s compositions are not well known, they include two piano concertos, a string quartet and several solo piano works.”
- Allan Kozinn, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 27 April, 2007
“While still in his teen years Felix Salmond Mayes began playing as a section cellist in the Philadelphia Orchestra. He graduated from the Curtis Institute in 1937, and in 1938 was asked to become principal cellist of the PSO, under the baton of Leopold Stowkowski, where he stayed for ten years. In 1948 Koussevitsky called Mayes to be the principal cellist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. While in Boston he taught cello at Boston University, and played chamber music with Joseph Silverstein, Joseph de Pasquale, the Boston Chamber Players and the Zimbler Sinfonietta. It was also in Boston that he married Winifred Schaefer, who had been the first woman to ever play in a BSO string section.
Mayes remained in Boston until 1965, when he was persuaded by Eugene Ormandy to return to the Philadelphia Orchestra. There, he and his wife Winifred played side-by-side as principal and co-principal cellists.
He was a well-known cello teacher, and taught at a number of famous music schools: the New England Conservatory, Hartt College, Interlochen, the Philadelphia Music Academy and Temple University. When Maye's health began to decline he moved to the Eastman School of Music, and then to a position with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He stayed in Los Angeles for only one year (1974/1975), and then moved to the state of Michigan, where he continued to teach at Michigan University.”
"Erich Leinsdorf, a conductor whose abrasive intelligence and deep musical learning served as a conscience for two generations of conductors, had a utilitarian stage manner and his disdain of dramatic effects for their own sake stood out as a not-so-silent rebuke to his colleagues in this most glamorous of all musical jobs. In addition, Mr. Leinsdorf - in rehearsal, in the press and in his valuable book on conducting, THE COMPOSER'S ADVOCATE - never tired of pointing out gaps in culture among musicians, faulty editing among music publishers and errors in judgment or acts of ignorance among his fellow conductors. He rarely named his victims, but his messages and their targets were often clear. Moreover, he usually had the solid grasp of facts to support his contentions.
Mr. Leinsdorf moved to this country from Vienna in 1937. Helped by the recommendation of Arturo Toscanini, whom he had been assisting at the Salzburg Festival, Mr. Leinsdorf made his conducting début at the Metropolitan Opera a year later with DIE WALKÜRE. He was 25 years old at the time . A year later he was made overseer of the Met's German repertory, and his contentious style - in particular an insistence on textual accuracy and more rehearsal - won him no friends among singers like Lauritz Melchior and Kirsten Flagstad. Backed by management, he remained at the Met until 1943. At the New York City Opera, where he became music director in 1956, Mr. Leinsdorf's demanding policies in matters of repertory and preparation made him further enemies, and he left a year later. His searches for permanent employment turned mostly to orchestras. After the briefest of tenures at the Cleveland Orchestra during World War II, Mr. Leinsdorf took over the Rochester Philharmonic and stayed for nine years.
Mr. Leinsdorf's last and most prestigious music directorship was at the Boston Symphony, where he replaced Charles Münch in 1962. No contrast in style could have been sharper: Münch had viewed conducting mystically, as a kind of priesthood; Mr. Leinsdorf's policy was to make performances work in the clearest and most rational way. Observers both in and out of the orchestra could not deny the benefits of Mr. Leinsdorf's discipline, but there were some who were hostile to what they perceived as an objectivity that could hardly be called heartwarming.
One American orchestra manager a few years ago responded to musicians' grumblings over Mr. Leinsdorf's rehearsal manner by saying that he was ‘good for my orchestra’. And so he probably was.”
- Bernard Holland, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 12 Sept., 1993