Soldiers of Music: Rostropovich Returns to Russia

Portrait of the cellist, conductor, and defender of free speech

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Program notes

Incredible artist and conductor, Mstislav Rostropovich made an indelible mark on the 20th century with his virtuosic playing, inspiring unprecedented numbers of composers writing works for his instrument. He was also known for his political activism and role as a defender of free speech and human rights. This documentary follows him on his return to his native Russia in 1991.

Thanks to an exclusive series of filmed concerts and to interviews testifying to the political and personal difficulties which confronted the famous cellist, this documentary gives honest insight into the events that followed the return of Rostropoich, his wife, and the famous soprano Galina Vishnevskaya to Russia. Exile and loss of citizenship were the price they paid for sheltering and defending the author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn after he criticized Stalin in 1970. For decades, Rostropovich was also banned from performing on Russian stages.

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