Premiered on the 4th of March 1870 in Moscow, Romeo et Juliette is an overture-fantasy composed by Tchaikovsky after Shakespeare's tragedy. Tchaikovsky reworked his score several times, and it is nowadays the last version (1880) which is most performed. Articulated around two main themes, love and dissension, this work has ever since its premiered been considered as one the Russian composer masterwork. Mstislav Rostropovich performs as well Tchaikovsky's Andante Cantabile accompanied by the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Next to these iconic pieces of the Russian Romantic repertoire, Mstislav Rostropovich conducts Shostakovich's Interludes from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Alfred Schnittke's Monologue for Viola and Strings. Within two months of the fall of the Berlin wall, the performance of these works may be read as a tribute to two of the greatest composers of the 20th century who had to face the pressure of the Soviet regime.