So long Slava!
Mstislav Rostropovich, probably the best cellist ever, has died today at the age of 80. It is a curious coincidence that I got the news about his death in the city where he was born: Baku. A master musician, Rostropovich was also renowned for his backing for human rights and opposition to Soviet rule. His support for dissidents in a letter to Pravda made him a target for Soviet authorities,which he never regretted: when he was asked, some years ago, what was the best thing he had done in his life, he replied: "the best step was not found in music, but in one page of this letter; since that moment my conscience was clean and clear".