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Digital Subscriptions > The Strad > July 2019 > From the ARCHIVE

From the ARCHIVE

Cellist Gregor Piatigorsky gives a irst-hand account of his light from Russia into Poland

FROM THE STRAD 1939 VOL 50 NO.591

Gregor Piatigorsky, the eminent Russian violoncellist, was only a boy at the time of the Revolution, but was already the irst ’cellist in the orchestra of the Imperial Opera at Moscow. A few years back,the gave an account of his escape over the frontier into Poland. Although Piatigorsky very nearly lost his life in this adventure the incident was not without its humorous side. It will be noticed that at that time Piatigorsky’s command of English was not so good as it is to-day, but we feel his original version should be spared the hand of an arranger: “When the Bolshevik revolution breaks out I am a boy; everyone is running away, so I take my ’cello and with musical companions we go to the frontier in a cow’s railway carriage. On the way we perform for Red soldiers. We have a hall, packed with soldiers, no room left. We play for them—beautiful Debussy, thing like that. At the end only two of the audience remains. I do not think they understand Debussy.”the fugitives reached a village on the Polish border, closely watched by Red Guards.

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About The Strad

Antoine Tamestit discusses his new recordings and we examine his viola, the 1672 ‘Gustav Mahler’ Stradivari. There’s a look at string teaching in Uganda and we have interviews with Sol Gabetta, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Gary Hoffman, Natalie Clein – and many more!