Having recently succumbed to Yo Yo Ma after a longtime love of Ennio Marricone I was excited to get this CD from Amazon. It is superb! All of the songs had to be recrafted by Morricone to suit Yo Yo Ma but it is a great listen as you sonically travel down memory lane through some of Maestro Moricone's musical marvels. "Gabriel's Oboe" from "The Mission" now becomes "Gabriel's Cello." I laugh as Yo Yo Ma bows his brains out on the "Ecstacy of Gold' from "The Good,The Bad, and The Ugly." I recommend this to all Yo Yo Ma and Morricone fans...a great listen. Soothing after a hard day!
The power of exquisite movie soundtracks is exhibited by superstar composer in this field Morricone. Couple this with the superstar celloist Ma and one gets this magnificent effort of Yo-Yo playing some of Morricone's best scores.
The power and majesty of Morricone's scores soar off this disc and especially Gabriel's Oboe & The Falls from The Mission as well as scores from Moses which I am unfamiliar with but will check it out. As other reviewers have already pointed out, the Nocture from The Lady Caliph is unbelievable in its escstacy and enchantment, here heightened by Ma's passionate intonation and interpretation. He glides and powers through this music with ease and focus and thus this collusion with the composer begats a magnficent sound.
Great music from groundbreaking movies, arranged for solo cello and orchestra. Selections are arranged roughly into suites by the director of each film (e.g. the Sergio Leone Suite, the Brian de Palma Suite, etc.) Ennio Morricone's work (recently celebrated with a Screen Actor's Guild Lifetime Achievement Award) more than sets the tone for each movie, it becomes a character in each movie -- when you hear a certain theme played, you are instantly transported back to that moment when you first heard it. A definite must have for film buffs, soundtrack enthusiasts and fans of Morricone or Ma.
Although not familiar with most of Yo-Yo Ma's catalog, I have always been a fan of Sergio Leone and subsequently, Ennio Morricone. The soundscapes he is able to create in The Man with No Name trilogy, Once Upon a Time in America, and other films make these films utterly captivating. Though you may not be familiar with every film Ma and Morricone reimagine on this disc, it simply doesn't matter. The music the two work together to create music that sounds as if it were written for cello with an orchestral accompaniment on half the tracks, or vice versa on the other half. Although the entire album is outstanding, the shining track, for me, is where Yo-Yo Ma showcases his amazing prowess and emotion on the single track from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (Ecstacy of Gold).
This particular SACD also shines in its wonderful dynamics and tasteful, but not overbearing, use of the rear surround channels. Nearly every track could serve as demo quality material.
Sonically, I'd give it a 4.5/5. Musically, it deserves a 5/5.
If you are a Ennio Morricone's fan or not, you can't get wrong with this SACD. The performance of Yo Yo Ma is just wonderful and bring a new life, new ideas into Morricone's fine music ... You can compare the original scores and this performance, it is never the same or steril, it's a new point of view for all those magical moments, that comes up with Morricone's music. For example the legendary Ecstasy of gold - what a little miracle Ma made with this song. Marco Polo's Theme, Casualties of war, OUATIA, Cinema Paradiso and more & more. And the sound is just on hifi level. My collection of Morricone's scores on CD is over 100, but without this one it will be never the same again...
This album is stunning. In my opinion it is a must buy.
Pros: >Excellent arrangement with absolutely stunning dynamic control. >Masterful recording, mixing and mastering. One of the best sounding classical CDs I own. >The accompanying ensemble is TOP NOTCH! >Yo-Yo was just having a really good day and you can feel his emotion in the music. I know that isn't a quantitative argument, but it is true.
Cons: I thought about this for a while and all I could come up with is maybe it is missing a solo track? Really I can't come up with anything bad about it.