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The fabled virtuoso cellist Mstislav Rostropovich gives a heart-wrenching rendering of Schumann’s Cello Concerto, accompanied by the Orchestre National de France under the baton of yet another fabled musician, the legendary maestro Leonard Bernstein. Experience what happened when two of the 20th century’s greatest musicians met on the stage of Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Elysees for a truly unforgettable performance!
Never played during Schumann’s lifetime, his Cello Concerto in A Major received its premiere in 1860, four years after his tragic death. Its composition in 1850—in just two weeks—marked a much happier time in the composer’s life: recently arrived in Düsseldorf as music director, he found himself at the beginning of what seemed like a new career, and the optimism fueled the completion of numerous masterworks in just months, including the “Rhenish” Symphony. Though the symphony received rave reviews, no one displayed interest in the Cello Concerto, whose unusual through-composed structure and archetypal Romanticism proved too much for his contemporaries.