Otto Klemperer's Beethoven is one of the towering achievements in the history of recordings. By today's standards, these performances are hopelessly old-fashioned: dark, heavy, and frequently very slow. But they are also the grandest, most unsentimental, most purposeful versions in the catalog.
Shafran became something of a legendary figure amongst cellists. He made a fabled child prodigy debut at ten, playing the Rococo Variations with the Leningrad Philharmonic conducted by Albert Coates. In later years, though, he toured abroad very seldom – making sporadic visits in the 1960s to Rome, New York and London and a succession of visits to Japan where he was immensely popular and had a number of students. Towards the end of his life he gave two celebrated recitals at Wigmore Hall.