To celebrate the 80th birthday of the worldís greatest living cellist, Mstislav Rostropovich, EMI Classics will run an international campaign in conjunction with iTunes giving music lovers access to his entire EMI discography as cellist, conductor and pianist. Exclusively available on the iTunes Store (, this treasure-trove includes eleven currently unavailable albums, two of which have never been issued on CD. The campaign begins on 20 March 2007, a week before the birthday of the larger-than-life figure affectionately known to the world as Slava.

William Benthall, Director - Digital for EMI Classics, said, ìFor the first time ever, all of the recordings that this iconic figure made for EMI Classics can be accessed and enjoyed by the public. Many of the unavailable recordings are unique historical documents and will be of great interest to Slava ' s army of fans and admirers around the world.î

In a career as cellist, conductor and pianist spanning 65 years, Mstislav Rostropovichís musical partners have included such illustrious artists as his wife, the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, violinists David Oistrakh, Maxim Vengerov and Itzhak Perlman, pianist Sviatoslav Richter and conductors Herbert von Karajan and Carlo Maria Giulini. His friendships and collaborations with many of the 20th centuryís finest composers, including Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Britten, Bernstein, Messiaen, Dutilleux, Lutoslawski and Penderecki, resulted in the creation of over 240 new works.

Highlights of the EMI Classics/iTunes download-only tracks include Richard Straussís Cello Sonata, recorded in 1974 and never before released on CD, the complete Tchaikovsky Symphonies and Overtures with Rostropovich conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded in 1976, and the Shostakovich Cello Sonata with the composer at the piano, recorded in the late 1950s.

In addition to over 500 individual tracks, EMI is offering an 80-track Special Edition Bundle at a very special price. This compilation presents a compelling snapshot of Rostropovichís musical career. Fifty of the tracks are iTunes exclusives, taken from the 11 unavailable and unreleased albums. The compilation also includes a PDF booklet featuring an introductory note and historic photos from the EMI archives.

Mstislav Rostropovichís first recording for EMI Classics was the Nikolay Miaskovsky cello concerto in 1956. Since then, his collaboration with EMI has encompassed recordings of works by, among many others, Beethoven, Bloch, Borodin, Brahms, Dutilleux, Dvo¯·k, Glinka, Haydn, Khachaturian, Lutoslawski, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Saint-SaÎns, Schumann, Shostakovich, Richard Strauss and Tchaikovsky.

EMI Classics is the oldest record label in the world and has the largest vaults with over 100,000 recordings. The Rostropovich 80th birthday releases are the start of a drive by EMI Classics to tap further into this incredible resource and share it with music lovers across the globe.

The iTunes Store, the worldís most popular digital music store, currently features over 4 million songs, 250 feature films, 350 television shows and over 100,000 podcasts.

ìThe significance of Mstislav Rostropovichís work spreads far beyond his playing of the cello: this versatile and ever-inspiring musician is a great and deep man, a profoundly creative artist, whose contribution to cultural life is immeasurably precious.î (Dmitri Shostakovich)

As a performer, Rostropovich commands an extraordinarily wide range; indeed, his infinite scope is one of the most astonishing aspects of his musicianship. When we hear him perform, we are in the presence of a deeply fascinating artistic personality. He opens up to us a boundless universe through playing that brims with life and glows with the richest of colours. He utterly captivates us while offering us the pleasure of contact with art at its most supreme.î (Dmitri Shostakovich)


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