The name of David Popper generally is known only to cellists, all of whom have had to struggle through his book of Etudes. The rest of the world's exposure to his music most likely consists of the Hungarian Rhapsody and one or two other showpieces, which usually are performed with just cello and piano. This disc of no less than nine different pieces shows Popper to be a gifted Romantic melodist and skilled orchestrator. Popper was pretty much the Rostropovich of the 19th century, and he wrote these works to show off his own virtuoso talents. Maria Kliegel is nearly always up to the challenges these works present, however extreme, and it is a treat to hear them performed with the originally-intended full orchestral accompaniment.
This key title is being reissued at a special price as part of the celebration of Rostropovich - "Cellist of the Century". Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich was born in Baku, USSR on March 27, 1927. His first name means "avenged glory"; he is familiarly known by the root of the name, "Slava," which means "glory." His father, Leopold, was an excellent cellist, and after 1931, a teacher at the Gnesin Institute, Moscow after attending the Moscow Conservatory. Slava's mother was an accomplished pianist. The family moved to Moscow in 1931; Slava had already begun cello studies with his father and continued them there. His first public appearance was at eight years of age. In 1939, he entered the Central Music School, studying there until 1941.