Transition: Valenti, Rostropovich

Jack Valenti, 85
LBJ's onetime aide and confidant, and Hollywood's longtime fixer in Washington. With his swept-back silver mane and banty strut (he had been a bomber pilot in World War II), Valenti flattered and charmed stars and moguls, pols and pundits at cozy movie screenings. Valenti devised the film-ratings system. He was one of the highest-paid trade-association lobbyists in Washington. He earned it.

Mstislav Rostropovich, 80 The master cellist, born in Azerbaijan, studied with Prokofiev and Shostakovich—both of whom wrote works specifically for him. In 1974, after offending Soviet authorities by defending (and sheltering) the writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Rostropovich and his wife were allowed to leave the U.S.S.R., not to return until 1990. Rostropovich waited until 1996—more than 40 years after winning his first international competition—before recording Bach's unaccompanied cello suites: a cellist's Mount Everest. Rostropovich's version, like so much of his playing, is intensely passionate—uptempo passages sometimes evoke a rough-and-tumble barn dance. Some listeners found it anti-Bachian, even sloppy; others found it definitive. Decide for yourself. Rostropovich's giant, generous heart and spirit are there for all to hear.     
David Gates

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