Georges Gachot's documentary on Rodion Shchedrin focuses on the premiere of the Concerto Cantabile for violin and string orchestra, a new work written by the contemporary Russian composer for the brilliant young virtuoso Maxim Vengerov.
The film includes excerpts from the premiere concert, featuring the Tonhalle Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons. Georges Gachot relies heavily on interviews with Shchedrin as well as prima ballerina assoluta Maya Plissetskaya (the composer's wife), Maxim Vengerov, Lorin Maazel and Mischa Maisky. These interviews and excerpts from the concerto's premiere are then interwoven with video clips from other performances, including a concert featuring Shchedrin's Piano Concerto No. 4 with Olli Mustonen as soloist, a chamber music concert given by the composer himself and Frans Helmerson, and Shchedrin's concert in "Hommage à Chopin" (1983), in which he performed alongside Chick Corea, Paul Gulda and the late Nicolas Economou.
Georges Gachot's 1999 film is a thorough and engaging portrait of a contemporary composer who is regarded by many as one of Prokofiev and Shostakovich's principal successors.