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Mstislav Rostropovich was a rare combination: powerful conductor; courageous dissident; musical activist; but first he was a cellist. Since his death two weeks ago at age 80, WNYC’s Sara Fishko has been talking to cellists about his contribution for this edition of the Fishko Files.

A playlist of the Rostropovich recordings heard in this edition:

Schumann's Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129 with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme with the USSR Symphony Orchestra
Faure's Apres un reve, Op. 7/1 with Alexander Dedyuhkin
Britten's Suite for solo cello No. 1, Op. 72
Dvorak's Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104 with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Saint-Saens's Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33
Shostakovich's Concerto for Cello in E flat, Op. 107 with the Philadelphia Orchestra
Schubert's Sonata for arpeggione and piano, D821 with Benjamin Britten
Honegger's Cello Concerto [1934] with the USSR Symphony Orchestra