Introduction and Polonaise Brillante

Yet another very busy day with no time for a proper post. However, I did notice this morning that today was the birthday of the great Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich (who died in 2007) and that gives me the excuse to post this recording, which I’ve loved for years and which gets played very frequently on my iPoD, especially in times of stress. The Introduction and Polonaise Brillante is a very early piece by Frederic Chopin; it’s his Opus 3 in fact and was composed when he was about 20 years old. He later dismissed it as “a bit of froth for the salon ladies”. It may not be an enormously profound piece of music – and I’ve heard many insipid versions that have almost put me off it entirely – but I think this performance is great. The combination of Rostropovich on cello with another iconoclast Marta Argerich on piano was never going to produce insipid music, and it’s abundantly clear that, though it’s not a particularly challenging piece, they both had a whale of a time recording it!

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