Slava cor­rec­tion

BBC Music Magazine - - LETTERS - Vic­tor and Lil­ian Hochhauser,

As we were re­spon­si­ble for ne­go­ti­at­ing the visit of the cel­list Mstislav Rostropovich and the USSR State Sym­phony Or­ches­tra to the BBC Proms on 21 Au­gust 1968 and sub­se­quently to the Edinburgh Fes­ti­val, we wish to point out the in­ac­cu­ra­cies in Peter Haydn Pike’s let­ter (Septem­ber). We were present at the con­cert, sit­ting next to the BBC con­troller of mu­sic, the late Sir Wil­liam Glock. In view of the Soviet in­va­sion into Prague, we were all ex­pect­ing se­ri­ous trou­ble, but there was ab­so­lutely no in­ter­rup­tion dur­ing Rostropovich’s emo­tion­ally charged per­for­mance of the Dvo ák Cello Con­certo, no ‘cat­calls’ to drown out the Shostakovich sym­phony, and the con­cert was broad­cast in full. Only one in­ci­dent oc­curred, when two stu­dents left the hall shout­ing ‘Viva Casals’ as Rostropovich ap­peared on the stage (they later apol­o­gised to him by let­ter). Nor was it true that the or­ches­tra did not go to the Edinburgh Fes­ti­val, but im­me­di­ately re­turned to Rus­sia. In fact, we trav­elled with them to Edinburgh. Again, there were no in­ter­rup­tions dur­ing the per­for­mance. A group of demon­stra­tors stood out­side the Usher Hall, car­ry­ing a plac­ard say­ing: ‘We love your mu­sic but we hate your tanks’.

No hitches: was Slava’s 1968 visit in­ci­dent free?

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