Ebony Concerto (Stravinsky)
Igor Stravinsky wrote the Ebony Concerto in 1945 for the Woody Herman band known as the First Herd. It is one in a series of compositions commissioned by the bandleader/clarinetist featuring solo clarinet, the score is dedicated to him, it was first performed on March 25, 1946 in Carnegie Hall in New York City, by Woody Herman's Band, conducted by Walter Hendl. Stravinsky's engagement with jazz dates back to the closing years of the First World War, the major jazz-inspired works of that period being L'histoire du soldat, the Ragtime for eleven instruments, the Piano-Rag-Music. Although traces of jazz elements blues and boogie-woogie, can be found in his music throughout the 1920s and 1930s, it was only with the Ebony Concerto that Stravinsky once again incorporated features of jazz into a composition on a far-reaching scale; the title was suggested to Stravinsky by Aaron Goldmark, of Leeds Music Corporation, who had negotiated the commission and suggested the form it should take. The composer explained that his title does not refer to the clarinet, as might be supposed, but rather to Africa, because "the jazz performers I most admired at that time were Art Tatum, Charlie Parker, the guitarist Charles Christian.
And blues meant African culture to me."The official blurb published with the score says that Stravinsky had been so impressed with recordings of the Herman band, such as "Bijou", "Goosey Gander", "Caldonia", when asked, he agreed to write a piece for them with a solo clarinet part for Herman. However, according to Herman's trumpeter and arranger Neal Hefti, this story may be somewhat embroidered. Hefti and his trumpeter colleague, Pete Candoli, were both great fans of Stravinsky's music, so after Hefti returned to the band after six months spent in California working in the film industry, Candoli wanted to know if he had met the great man. Hefti had not, but pretended he had done, embellished his story by claiming, "I played him the records, he thinks they're great." The rumor spread, within two days the publisher Lou Levy of Leeds Music had arranged for Herman to contact Stravinsky, this led to the commission of the concerto. Once having accepted the commission, Stravinsky decided to create a jazz-based version of a concerto grosso, with a blues as the slow movement.
If he had not heard them, he now listened to recordings of the Herman band, went so far as to consult a saxophonist in order to learn how the instrument is fingered. The project nearly foundered when a publicity story was published in September 1945, claiming a "collaboration" between Stravinsky and Herman. Stravinsky withdrew from the agreement until his lawyer, Aaron Sapiro, convinced him that no offense had been intended; the score of the first two movements was delivered to Herman on November 22, 1945, the finale followed on December 10. In February 1946 the composer chose Walter Hendl, assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic, to conduct the premiere at Carnegie Hall the following month, but Stravinsky himself first rehearsed the band—backstage at New York's Paramount Theatre, where they were appearing at the time. Herman found the solo part frighteningly difficult, did not feel that Stravinsky had adapted his writing to the jazz-band idiom. Instead, he "wrote pure Stravinsky", the band did not feel at all comfortable with the score initially.
"After the first rehearsal, at which we were all so embarrassed we were nearly crying because nobody could read, he walked over and put his arm around me and said,'Ah, what a beautiful family you have.'" The Ebony Concerto is scored for solo clarinet in B♭ and a jazz band consisting of two alto saxophones in E♭, two tenor saxophones in B♭, baritone saxophone in E♭, three clarinets in B♭, bass clarinet in B♭, horn in F, five trumpets in B♭, three trombones, harp, double bass, drum set. The horn and harp were additions to the normal make-up of the Herman band. Stravinsky's original plan was to include an oboe as well, but this instrument did not survive into the final version of the score. A typical performance lasts about eleven minutes; the first movement is a sonata-allegro in B♭ major with a second subject in E♭ major. The second movement is a blues in F minor, turning to F major at the end; the finale is a theme and variations with a coda. The final variation, marked "Vivo", features the solo clarinet in one last virtuoso display.
Amongst Stravinsky's compositions using variation form, the concerto is unusual for several reasons. First, it employs this form as a finale. Second, the variation movement ends in the same key. Third, the second variation repeats the melodic theme, thus functioning as a sort of internal recapitulation and thereby suggesting a fusing of variation with rondo form. On November 4, 1945, while still in the midst of composing the concerto, Stravinsky wrote a letter to Nadia Boulanger describing his progress as well as plans to make a recording with the Herman band in February 1946; this recording session was postponed but, at that time, Stravinsky foresaw its release on a 78-rpm disc, with the first two movements on one side and the theme and variations on the other. He expected the durations of the three movements to be just two-and-a-half and three minutes. On 19 August 1946, the day after performing the piece together on a "Columbia Workshop" national broadcast and Stravinsky recorded the concerto in
Mavra is a one-act comic opera composed by Igor Stravinsky, one of the earliest works of Stravinsky's neo-classical period. The libretto of the opera, by Boris Kochno, is based on Alexander Pushkin's The Little House in Kolomna. Mavra is about 25 minutes long, features two arias, a duet, a quartet performed by its cast of four characters; the opera has been characterised as both an homage to Russian writers, a satire of bourgeois manners and the Romeo and Juliet subgenre of romance. Philip Truman has described the music as satirising 19th-century comic opera; the dedication on the score is to the memory of Pushkin and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Mavra premiered in Paris on 3 June 1922, staged under the auspices of Sergei Diaghilev, with Oda Slobdoskaya, Zoïa Rosovska and Bélina Skoupevski among the original cast, at the Théatre national de l'Opéra, orchestra conducted by Grzegorz Fitelberg; the opera was a failure at the premiere because the large space of the Paris Opéra overwhelmed the small scale of the opera.
One critic, Émile Vuillermoz, so enraged Stravinsky that he cut the review out and pasted it onto his manuscript copy. Stravinsky himself thought highly of this composition, saying once that "Mavra seems to me the best thing I've done". Erik Satie praised the work after its premiere. Stravinsky himself reacted with hostility to people who criticized it in years; the opera was given its United States premiere by the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company at the Academy of Music, Philadelphia on December 28, 1934 with Maria Kurenko as Parasha and Alexander Smallens conducting. The Santa Fe Opera mounted Mavra in 1962; the first aria of the work has been arranged for cello and piano, recorded with Mstislav Rostropovich under the title "Russian Song". Place: Russian village Time: Circa 1840Parasha is in love with her neighbour, Vassili, a young hussar, but they have difficulty in meeting. After they sing a duet, Vassili leaves, Parasha's mother enters, she is lamenting the difficulty of finding a new maid-servant after their prior maid-servant, died.
The mother orders her daughter to find a new maid-servant. Parasha comes up with a scheme to smuggle Vassili into her house disguised as Mavra, a female maid-servant; the ruse succeeds, Parasha and Vassili are happy at being under the same roof. Parasha and her mother go out for a walk. At one moment, Vassili shaves; the ladies return, disconcerted to see their new maid-servant shaving. Vassili escapes out the window, her mother faints, the next door neighbour rushes in to try to help, Parasha laments the loss of her young love. Overture Parasha's song Hussar's gypsy song Dialogue The mother's song Dialogue Duet Dialogue Quartet Dialogue Duet Dialogue Mavra's song Coda Columbia 72609: Susan Belinck, Mary Simmons, Patricia Rideout, Stanley Kolk. 1999. "Mavra". Retrieved January 27, 2006. Boosey & Hawkes Opera. "Mavra". Retrieved January 27, 2006
In musical set theory, an interval class known as unordered pitch-class interval, interval distance, undirected interval, or " as'interval mod 6'", is the shortest distance in pitch class space between two unordered pitch classes. For example, the interval class between pitch classes 4 and 9 is 5 because 9 − 4 = 5 is less than 4 − 9 = −5 ≡ 7. See modular arithmetic for more on modulo 12; the largest interval class is 6. The concept of interval class accounts for octave and inversional equivalency. Consider, for instance, the following passage: (To hear a MIDI realization, click the following: 106 KB In the example above, all four labeled pitch-pairs, or dyads, share a common "intervallic color." In atonal theory, this similarity is denoted by interval class—ic 5, in this case. Tonal theory, classifies the four intervals differently: interval 1 as perfect fifth; the unordered pitch class interval i may be defined as i = the smaller of i ⟨ a, b ⟩ and i ⟨ b, a ⟩, where i <a, b> is an ordered pitch-class interval.
While notating unordered intervals with parentheses, as in the example directly above, is the standard, some theorists, including Robert Morris, prefer to use braces, as in i. Both notations are considered acceptable. Pitch interval Similarity relation Morris, Robert. Class Notes for Atonal Music Theory. Hanover, NH: Frog Peak Music. Rahn, John. Basic Atonal Theory. ISBN 0-02-873160-3. Whittall, Arnold; the Cambridge Introduction to Serialism. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-68200-8. Friedmann, Michael. Ear Training for Twentieth-Century Music. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-04536-0 ISBN 0-300-04537-9 Solomon's Set Theory Primer
A palindrome is a word, phrase, or other sequence of characters which reads the same backward as forward, such as madam or racecar or the number 10801. Sentence-length palindromes may be written when allowances are made for adjustments to capital letters and word dividers, such as "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!", "Was it a car or a cat I saw?" or "No'x' in Nixon". Composing literature in palindromes is an example of constrained writing; the word "palindrome" was coined by the English playwright Ben Jonson in the 17th century from the Greek roots palin and dromos. Palindromes date back at least to 79 AD, as a palindrome was found as a graffito at Herculaneum, a city buried by ash in that year; this palindrome, called the Sator Square, consists of a sentence written in Latin: "Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas". It is remarkable for the fact that the first letters of each word form the first word, the second letters form the second word, so forth. Hence, it can be arranged into a word square that reads in four different ways: horizontally or vertically from either top left to bottom right or bottom right to top left.
As such, they can be referred to as palindromatic. A palindrome with the same square property is the Hebrew palindrome, "We explained the glutton, in the honey was burned and incinerated", credited to Abraham ibn Ezra in 1924, referring to the halachic question as to whether a fly landing in honey makes the honey treif; the palindromic Latin riddle "In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni" describes the behavior of moths. It is that this palindrome is from medieval rather than ancient times; the second word, borrowed from Greek, should properly be spelled gyrum. Byzantine Greeks inscribed the palindrome, "Wash sins, not only face" ΝΙΨΟΝ ΑΝΟΜΗΜΑΤΑ ΜΗ ΜΟΝΑΝ ΟΨΙΝ, on baptismal fonts; this practice was continued in many English churches. Examples include the font at St. Mary's Church and the font in the basilica of St. Sophia, the font of St. Stephen d'Egres, Paris; some well-known English palindromes are, "Able was I ere I saw Elba", "A man, a plan, a canal – Panama", "Madam, I'm Adam" and "Never odd or even".
English palindromes of notable length include mathematician Peter Hilton's "Doc, note: I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod" and Scottish poet Alastair Reid's "T. Eliot, top bard, notes putrid tang emanating, is sad; the most familiar palindromes in English are character-unit palindromes. The characters read the same backward as forward; some examples of palindromic words are redivider, civic, level, kayak, racecar, redder and refer. There are word-unit palindromes in which the unit of reversal is the word. Word-unit palindromes were made popular in the recreational linguistics community by J. A. Lindon in the 1960s. Occasional examples in English were created in the 19th century. Several in French and Latin date to the Middle Ages. There are line-unit palindromes. Palindromes consist of a sentence or phrase, e.g. "Mr. Owl ate my metal worm", "Was it a car or a cat I saw?", "Murder for a jar of red rum" or "Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog". Punctuation and spaces are ignored.
Some, such as "Rats live on no evil star", "Live on time, emit no evil", "Step on no pets", include the spaces. Semordnilap is a name coined for words; the word was coined by Martin Gardner in his notes to C. C. Bombaugh's book Oddities and Curiosities of Words and Literature in 1961. An example of this is the word stressed, desserts spelled backward; some semordnilaps are deliberate. An example in electronics is the mho, a unit of electrical conductance, ohm spelled backwards, the unit of electrical resistance and the reciprocal of conductance; the daraf, a unit of elastance, is farad spelled backwards, the unit of capacitance and the reciprocal of elastance. In fiction, many characters have names deliberately made to be semordnilaps of other names or words, the most used of, Alucard. Semordnilaps are known as emordnilaps, word reversals, reversible anagrams, heteropalindromes, semi-palindromes, half-palindromes, mynoretehs, volvograms, or anadromes, they have sometimes been called antigrams, though this term refers to anagrams which have opposite meanings.
In 2017, a six-year-old Canadian named Levi Budd called this a levidrome, which garnered support into making it a word from celebrities William Shatner and Patricia Arquette As of October 2018, none of these terms have been accepted as official entries in the Oxford English Dictionary. Some names are palindromes, such as the given names Hannah, Anna, Bob and Otto, or the surnames Harrah, Renner and Nenonen. Lon Nol was Prime Minister of Cambodia. Nisio Isin is a Japanese novelist and manga writer, whose pseudonym is a pal
Igor Stravinsky composed his Mass between 1944 and 1948. This 19-minute setting of the Roman Catholic Mass exhibits the austere, anti-Romantic aesthetic that characterizes his work from about 1923 to 1951; the Mass represents one of only a handful of extant pieces by Stravinsky, not commissioned. As such, part of the motivation behind its composition has been cited by Robert Craft and others as the product of a spiritual necessity. My Mass was provoked by some Masses of Mozart that I found at a secondhand store in Los Angeles in 1942 or 1943; as I played through these rococo-operatic sweets-of-sin, I knew I had to write a Mass of my own, but a real one. Stravinsky finished the Kyrie at about the same time, his work on the Mass was interrupted for several years in which his wrote his Symphony, Ebony Concerto, Concerto in D, the ballet Orpheus. He resumed work on it in the fall of 1947 and completed it March 15, 1948. On February 26, 1947, Irving Fine conducted the Gloria, accompanied by two pianos.
The first complete performance occurred on October 1948 in Milan. Ernest Ansermet conducted members of the orchestra of La Scala; the work is scored for mixed chorus and an ensemble of wind instruments comprising two oboes, English horn, two bassoons, two trumpets, three trombones. There is some minor solo material in the second and fourth movements. Stravinsky specifies in the score that "children's voices should be employed" for both the soprano and alto parts, but, as with Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms, concert performances of the Mass employ adult singers. Like his 1955 work Canticum Sacrum, the Mass forms a symmetrical plan on a large scale; the outer movements contain homophonic choral statements with instrumental interludes, share a tonal vocabulary including octatonic and modal scales. By contrast, movements 2 and 4 feature florid solo lines which alternate with the choral statements, the harmony is more recognizably and diatonic; the central movement, the Credo, is the longest. It features static and declamatory text-setting with a limited harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary.
Long stretches of text repeat a single chord, evoking the reciting tone of Gregorian chant or the Orthodox liturgical chant that Stravinsky would have known from his childhood in Saint Petersburg. Clear setting of the text is favored over an expressive interpretation of its meaning; the music features examples of polyvalency. Stravinsky chose to compose this Roman Catholic Mass despite his own Orthodox faith, he stated that this was because: “I wanted my Mass to be used liturgically, an outright impossibility as far as the Russian Church was concerned, as Orthodox tradition proscribes musical instruments in its services- and as I can endure unaccompanied singing in only the most harmonically primitive music.”Stravinsky said of the Credo: “One composes a march to facilitate marching men, so with my Credo I hope to provide an aid to the text. The Credo is the longest movement. There is much to believe.” Below is a list of recordings—ordered alphabetically by conductor—of the Mass as of 2015. Ančerl, dir.
1967. Stravinsky: Les Noces/Mass/Cantata, from Ančerl Gold Edition 32. Czech Philharmonic Orchestra & Prague Philharmonic Choir. Supraphon 3692, CD. Bernstein, dir. 1988. Stravinsky: Les Noces/Mass. English Bach Festival Chorus & Orchestra, the Trinity Boys Choir. Deutsche Grammophon 20th Century Classics ADD 0289-423-2512-8-GC, compact disc. Craft, dir. 2006. Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms/Three Russian Sacred Choruses/Mass/Cantata/Babel; the Gregg Smith Singers, Orchestra of St. Luke, Philharmonia Orchestra. Naxos 8.557504, compact disc. Davis, dir. 1963. Stravinsky: Cantata/Mass. English Chamber Orchestra, St. Anthony Singers. Deutsche Grammophon ADD 0289-475-8716-3-DH, compact disc. Herreweghe, dir. 2010. Igor Stravinsky: Monumentum/Mass/Symphonie de Psaumes, J. S. Bach/Stravinsky: Choral-Variationen. Collegium Vocale Gent, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic. Pentatone Classics PTC 5186349, compact disc. Leeuw, Reinbert de, dir. 1999. Stravinsky: Sacred Choral Works. Netherlands Chamber Choir, the Schönberg Ensemble.
Philips 454477, compact disc. Marlow, dir. 1995. Stravinsky: Mass & Gesualdo: Responsoria; the Choir of Trinity College, London Musici. Conifer 51232, compact disc. O’Donnell, dir. 1993. Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms/Mass/Canticum Sacrum; the Choir of Westminster Cathedral, City of London Sinfonia. Hyperion CDA 66437. Preston, dir. 2008. Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms/Canticum Sacrum/Mass, Poulenc: Motets. Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Philip Jones Wind Ensemble, London Sinfonietta. London Decca 430346, compact disc. Reuss, dir. 2006. Stravinsky: Les Noces/Mass/Cantata. RIAS Kammerchor and musikFabrik. Harmonia mundi HMC 801913, compact disc. Stravinsky, dir. 1960/2007. Works of Igor Stravinsky. Columbia Symphony Orchestra, Gregg Smith Singers. Sony-BMG 88697–103112, compact disc
A Sermon, a Narrative and a Prayer
A Sermon, a Narrative and a Prayer is a cantata for alto and tenor singers, a narrator and orchestra by Igor Stravinsky, composed in 1960–61. It belongs to the composer’s serial period, lasts a little over a quarter of an hour in performance. Stravinsky began work on A Sermon, a Narrative and a Prayer in Hollywood in 1960, finished it on 31 January 1961; the score is dedicated to the Swiss conductor Paul Sacher, who commissioned it—the third movement bears an additional dedication: "In memoriam the Reverend James McLane". It was published in the same year, the work's first performance was given by the Basler Kammerorchester, conducted by the dedicatee, on 23 February 1962 in Basel. According to a note sent by the composer to Paul Sacher on 7 August 1961, Stravinsky regarded this cantata as a New-Testament counterpart to Threni, composed three years earlier to an Old-Testament text, the Lamentations of Jeremiah. For his text, Stravinsky chose passages from the Pauline epistles and the Acts of the Apostles, as well as a prayer by the Elizabethan poet Thomas Dekker, written in a style of English contemporary with that of the translations from the King James Version used for the Biblical passages.
The full titles of the cantata’s three movements are: I. A Sermon II. A Narrative: The Stoning of St. Stephen III. A Prayer The full orchestra never sounds together anywhere in the work, the chorus is silent throughout the second movement; the opening Sermon is divided in an A B C D A E C D pattern. The basic series used in the work is presented melodically in section A, an instrumental prelude opening the first movement: E♭–E–C–D–D♭–B♭–B–F♯–G–A–A♭–F The first five notes of this row are a permuted form of the five-note row Stravinsky used for In Memoriam Dylan Thomas—a chromatic pentachord consisting of the notes bounded by a major third, this pentachord occurs twice more in the row in the overlapping segment of notes 3–7, in notes 8–12 (Mason 1961, 6; this is followed by the first choral section, B, a rather obscure and difficult passage of intricate serial construction accompanied by the four horns. Over the concluding chord in the horns, a short solo for the tenor leads to section C, spoken by the choir to an accompaniment of tremolo sul ponticello strings, playing the retrograde and retrograde inversion of the basic series.
These same two forms of the series, transposed a semitone higher, recur in section D, now one after the other in a passage of two-part counterpoint between chorus and orchestra. The second half of the movement shadows the first, beginning with a modified retrograde of the instrumental introduction; this is followed by section E, another choral section that develops further the canonic and serial techniques used in the corresponding section B from the first half. Once again, the four horns sustain the concluding chord while the solo tenor and a bass from the choir sing a single complete melodic statement of the basic twelve-tone series, repeating the last line of the previous section's text: "then do we with patience wait for it." The last two sections are a literal repetition, including the text, of sections C and D from the first half. The second movement is an elaborate scena for the narrator and soloists, accompanied by the orchestra, describing the trial and stoning of St Stephen. Canonic passages continue to be featured, now introducing first the oboes and bassoons in double canon, the piano and tuba in a three-part canon.
The movement concludes with an eight-bar instrumental coda in which all four basic forms of the row are combined in a series of somber chords. Throughout the cantata, Stravinsky employs a method of hexachordal rotation, which he learned from the works of his friend Ernst Krenek, to generate arrays of pitches. Outside of these arrays, Stravinsky uses only the untransposed forms of the prime, retrograde and inverse-retrograde forms of his series; the arrays are constructed by taking progressive rotations of each hexachord and transposing the result so that each six-note set begins with the same note. For example, the first hexachord of the inverse form of the row has an interval succession of 11–4–10–1–3 semitones, plus an interval 7, wrapping around from the last back to the first note. By moving the first note in each hexachord to the end and transposing the result to begin on E♭, the rotation scheme produces: Stravinsky in many cases would travel systematically through the array to derive long melodic lines, as he does with this array to produce the canonic passage in the alto and tenor voices on the words "Oh My God, if it Bee Thy pleasure to cut me off before night", in bars 226–38 near the beginning of the third movement.
This passage is a strict, "direct" rhythmic canon, but the hexachords are displaced, the tenor leading with hexachords II–II–IV–V–VI and the alto following, but with hexachords I–II–II–IV–V, the pitches within corresponding hexachords are in retrograde order. This type of procedure suggests the canons used by Olivier Messiaen and Pierre Boulez, rather than the procedures of earlier composers such as Josquin des Prez and Johann Sebastian Bach, which provided the models for canons in many of Stravinsky’s other works. At the end of this canon, the chorus enters with the four forms of the basic series. Double basses, piano and gongs, continue their ostinato from the opening canonic section, based on the first hexachord of the inversion. T
Mstislav Leopoldovich "Slava" Rostropovich was a Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor. He is considered to be one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century. In addition to his interpretations and technique, he was well known for both inspiring and commissioning new works, which enlarged the cello repertoire more than any cellist before or since, he inspired and premiered over 100 pieces, forming long-standing friendships and artistic partnerships with composers including Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, Henri Dutilleux, Witold Lutosławski, Olivier Messiaen, Luciano Berio, Krzysztof Penderecki, Alfred Schnittke, Norbert Moret, Andreas Makris, Leonard Bernstein and Benjamin Britten. Rostropovich was internationally recognized as a staunch advocate of human rights, was awarded the 1974 Award of the International League of Human Rights, he was married to the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya and had two daughters and Elena Rostropovich. Mstislav Rostropovich was born in Baku, Azerbaijan SSR, to parents who had moved from Orenburg: Leopold Vitoldovich Rostropovich, a renowned cellist and former student of Pablo Casals, Sofiya Nikolaevna Fedotova-Rostropovich, a talented pianist.
Mstislav's father was born in Voronezh to Witold Rostropowicz, a composer of Polish noble descent, Matilda Rostropovich, née Pule. The Polish part of his family bore the Bogoria coat of arms, located at the family palace in Skotniki. Mstislav's mother Sofiya and her elder sister Nadezhda were the daughters of the founder of the Fedotov Music School in Orienburg, Nikolay Fedotov. Nadezhda married the cellist Semyon Kozolupov, thus Rostropovich's uncle by marriage. Rostropovich spent his youth there. During World War II his family moved back to Orenburg and in 1943 to Moscow. At the age of four, Rostropovich learned the piano with his mother, he began the cello at the age of 10 with his father. In 1943, at the age of 16, he entered the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied cello with his uncle Semyon Kozolupov, piano and composition with Vissarion Shebalin, his teachers included Dmitri Shostakovich. In 1945 he came to prominence as a cellist when he won the gold medal in the Soviet Union's first competition for young musicians.
He graduated from the Conservatory in 1948, became professor of cello there in 1956. Rostropovich gave his first cello concert in 1942, he won first prize at the international Music Awards of Prague and Budapest in 1947, 1949 and 1950. In 1950, at the age of 23 he was awarded what was considered the highest distinction in the Soviet Union, the Stalin Prize. At that time, Rostropovich was well known in his country and while pursuing his solo career, he taught at the Leningrad Conservatory and the Moscow Conservatory. In 1955, he married a leading soprano at the Bolshoi Theatre. Rostropovich had working relationships with Soviet composers of the era. In 1949 Sergei Prokofiev wrote his Cello Sonata in C, Op. 119, for the 22-year-old Rostropovich, who gave the first performance in 1950, with Sviatoslav Richter. Prokofiev dedicated his Symphony-Concerto to him. Rostropovich and Dmitry Kabalevsky completed Prokofiev's Cello Concertino after the composer's death. Dmitri Shostakovich wrote both his first and second cello concertos for Rostropovich, who gave their first performances.
His international career started in 1963 in 1964 in West Germany. Rostropovich went on several tours in Western Europe and met several composers, including Benjamin Britten, who dedicated his Cello Sonata, three Solo Suites, his Cello Symphony to Rostropovich. Rostropovich gave their first performances, the two had an special affinity – Rostropovich's family described him as "always smiling" when discussing "Ben", on his death bed he was said to have expressed no fear as he and Britten would, he believed, be reunited in Heaven. Britten was renowned as a piano accompanist and together they recorded, among other works, Schubert's Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano in A minor, his daughter claimed that this recording moved her father to tears of joy on his deathbed. Rostropovich had long-standing artistic partnership with Henri Dutilleux, Witold Lutosławski, Krzysztof Penderecki, Luciano Berio as well as Olivier Messiaen. Rostropovich took private lessons in conducting with Leo Ginzburg, first conducted in public in Gorky in November 1962, performing the four entractes from Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District and Shostakovich's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death with Vishnevskaya singing.
In 1967, at the invitation of the Bolshoi Theatre's director Mikhail Chulaki, he conducted Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin at the Bolshoi, thus letting forth his passion for both the role of conductor and the opera. Rostropovich played at The Proms on the night of 21 August 1968, he played with the Soviet State Symphony Orchestra – it was the orchestra's debut performance at the Proms. The programme featured Czech composer Antonín Dvořák's Cello Concerto in B minor and took place on the same day that Russia invaded Czechoslovakia to end Alexander D