Rudolf Barshai: The Note

A Portrait

Certain chapters are not available.
Thank you for your understanding.


Rudolf Barshai

Program notes

A moving documentary about the director and violist Rudolf Barshai.

Rudolf Barshai was one of the Major figures in the 20th century musical world. A personal friend of Shostakovitch, he played with David Oistrakh, Leonid Kogan, Sviatoslav Richter and Mstislav Rostropovitch. A funding member of the Moscow Philharmonic Quartet (later known as the Borodin Quartet), he also created the Moscow Chamber Orchestra in the late 1950s. The orchestra took the world by storm...

In 1977, at the peak of his career, Barshai emigrated to the West to perform works banned in the USSR. He led orchestras in Israel, Britain, Canada, France, Switzerland, and Japan. A master of orchestration, whom Shostakovich trusted to arrange his quartets into chamber symphonies. Barshai considered his greatest achievements in life the ending to Bach's Art of Fugue and a version of Mahler's Tenth Symphony.

Filmed in his personal house in Switzerland, Rudolf Barshai goes back over his life and work, his friendships and encounters with the greatest musicians of the 20th century. Oleg Dorman shot a moving and intimate testimony of a man who rejected political ideologies to dedicate his life entirely to music. This film, shot in 2010, is the maestro's confessional monologue, recorded a month before his death.

More info