Rostropovich was like a lion surrounded by armed gladiators
I once saw Rostropovich perform Schnittke’s Third Cello Concerto at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. His playing was fabulous – he was already 65 at the time – but at one point he had a significant memory lapse. The way he handled it was immensely impressive: instead of playing more softly, he played fortissimo open strings for 20 seconds until he was able to get back on track. He was like a lion surrounded by armed gladiators: instead of lying down and giving up, he fought even more fiercely.
Photo: Fumiaka Fujimoto