As Soviet rule collapsed, the cellist was at the barricades among those who defended the government headquarters alongside
Writes Allan Kozinn:
"Perhaps because his repertory was so broad, he was able to make his cello sing in an extraordinarily range of musical accents. . . . As a conductor, Mr. Rostropovich was an individualist. He happily molded tempos, phrase shapes and instrumental balances to suit an interpretive vision that was distinctly his own, and if his work did suit all tastes, it was widely agreed that the passion he brought to the podium yielded performances that were often as compelling as they were unconventional. He was at his most eloquent — and also his most freewheeling — in Russian music, particularly in the symphonies of Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich."More here.