Sony Music is proud to announce the worldwide release of Yo-Yo Ma: 30 Years Outside the Box, a deluxe box set of Yo-Yo Ma's recorded legacy. This elaborate, numbered, limited-edition box will celebrate Yo-Yo Ma's 30th Anniversary with the label. Created with the full participation of Yo-Yo Ma, 30 Years Outside the Box, is the definitive collection of this iconic artist in a presentation as beautiful and timeless as the music itself.
Yo-Yo Ma Plays Cello Masterworks is an eight-CD box set of previously released material recorded in the 1980s and 1990s, and presumably so familiar to his fans that the package doesn't even come with a booklet. It really is a no-frills affair, right down to the thin cardboard sleeves that repeat the same photograph on the box, instead of offering original cover art. But the greatest disappointment is that only three of J.S. Bach's Six Cello Suites were included, so listeners seeking them should forego this budget package and find the complete suites, which Ma recorded twice.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma has long been a giant in the classical world, though he has also made a number of recordings with musicians who play other styles. This holiday disc doesn't exclusively stick to traditional Christmas songs, but covers a wide scope of material in a very ambitious manner.
Continuing their explorations on Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble go even deeper into cross-cultural studies on this 2005 soundtrack album. Produced for a 10-part series on Japan's NHK television network, the CD's 15 tracks are arranged in three suites, entitled Enchantment, Origins, and New Beginnings, more reflective of inherent musical affinities than of the way the music was used in the program. The musicians tap into the variously overlapping musical styles of lands stretching from China and India to Iran and Turkey, and the arrangements by Zhao Jiping and Zhao Lin include a mix of instruments from around the world, to add greater color and sonic dimensions. The album's exotic and meditative qualities may attract fans of both international and new age music, though there is perhaps little crossover appeal for Ma's classical devotees.
The Goat Rodeo Sessions is an ambitious and groundbreaking project that brings together four string virtuosos: world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolinist Chris Thile. While each artist is a prominent figure in his own music sphere, they have come together as a unified ensemble on a most remarkable and organic cross-genre project. The music, including two tracks with female vocalist Aoife O'Donovan, feels both new and familiar it's composed and improvised, uptown and down home, funky and pastoral and above all, uniquely American.
"Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach" is one of several titles in Sony's new "Music For You" Series, easily identified by their artsy, photographic covers. The material on this CD has been available previously on CBS Masterworks. True, Ma does play music by Bach, but it is sonatas (originally intended for viola da gamba and not cello) by Bach, and the Sinfonia Concertante by Bach's youngest son, Johann Christian Bach. Not that Sony is lying and not that most people will care or feel cheated, but since this title is obviously aimed at classical novices, I just thought I'd set the record straight. In a similar vein, hopefully those that discover both Bach and Yo-Yo Ma via this disc will like what they hear, and go on to get one of Ma's two recordings of the Bach "Cello Suites" – the real yardstick for composer and performer alike. ~Amazon
With adventurous crossover projects coming one after another from Yo-Yo Ma, it's nice to be able to revisit some of the performances that brought him to the top of the heap among cellists and among classical musicians in general. This disc includes Dvorák performances by Ma from various 1990s discs, with his lovely 1995 reading of the Cello Concerto in B minor, with Kurt Masur leading the New York Philharmonic, as the centerpiece.