I had never heard of him before, let alone any Chello music. I was an ELVIS fan! Rock and Roll is here to stay! I went on a solo retreat to a cabin in the Mts. It had a metal roof and transom windows next to it, all around the ceiling. I love music and looked thru some cd's to play. No Elvis here! I put this one on and WOW, I fell in love. It just seemed to reverberate off of that metal ceiling and echo thru the cabin with such beauty. I played it over and over. The I bought it! Just like the first time I heard the violin played to beautifully in a movie and I waited to see, in the rolling credits, who played it. The Answer? Joshua Bell. I went out and bought 3 of his cd's the next day. You can not live your life without hearing these two men play their instruments. TRUST ME!
Not only do I listen to this recording by Yo Yo Ma over and over as time permits and feel I've "died and gone to heaven" during most of the selections, but when my 2 year old grandson was visiting last summer he "stopped everything" as I was playing "The Essentials of Yo Yo Ma", sat on my lap near my CD player holding the CD cover staring at Yo Yo Ma's photo as if mesmerized by his beautiful-beyond-description cello playing, eventually saying he loves Yo Yo and wants to play the cello. (Along with trumpet , flute, guitar, drums, and piano, all of which he has shown great interest in, and started playing several by his own insistance.) This nana has no doubt he has the natural love and instinctive ability in music and Will always play with great enjoyment and VERY well!!) Yes, Yo Yo Ma's "The Essential Yo Yo Ma" CD is a must for any music lover from the youngest to the elderly (such as my now 3 year old grandson and his 72 year nana, ) who hopes to feel like he/she has died and gone to heaven while listening.
If you're a cello fan, this is the perfect addition to your CD collection. Yo-Yo Ma has been at the forefront of cello musicians for many years, and rightly so. His passion for music and his virtuosity is unparalleled. Yes, I'm sure there are other equally-talented cellists out there, but I can't imagine anyone else surpassing him in conveying the musical cello experience to the listener.
This collection of pieces is all over the map musically, which just enhances the enjoyment as it's not the same sound over and over. If one can wear out a CD, this one will be worn out soon due to regular rotation in my CD player.
My enjoyment of Tanglewood music on a recent evening which featured Yo-Yo Ma was so enjoyable that I was hooked. Ma played the principal instrument in a performance of Saint-Saens' Andante Cantabile, a melody I love dearly. So of course I went to Amazon's MP3 library to look for it. I found it in the album titled "Essential Yo-Yo Ma", and of course I bought it. (-8 All 35 tracks. (-8 I've been listening to it for days as I go about my other activities, and loving it. It has an incredible range and variety of music, from cello – voice duets with Alison Krauss and Bobby McFarren, to large orchestra pieces, with jazz, pop, bossa nova, folk, and other things I can't even name in between. It even has one number from the Goat Rodeo sessions, and I am struggling with the impulse to buy either an MP3 or DVD of that ensemble. Seeing that unique assortment of musicians having so much fun playing music drives me toward the DVD, as I don't think it is available as a full video, although there are good parts on YouTube.
Yes, there was, of course and always, Pablo Casals. He elevated the role of cello players to new and enviable standards.
What I like about Yo Yo Ma and "Essentail Yo-Yo Ma" is his willingness to explore all that can be done with his instrument. I offer as an example Track 11 on CD1. I have always loved Rachmaninoff's "Volcalise," a piece that is beautiful on its own. On this track you hear what sounds like a second cello. It is actually Bobby McFerrin's voice.
CD2 is an adventure in the instrument and how it can be used beyond the expected classical.
I bought this album primarily for Alison Krauss singing "Simple Gifts," one of the finest (and hard to find) renditions of that wonderful song that is often badly covered, both instrumentally or vocally. But there are SOOO many highlights of this impressive collection. His version of the theme from "The Mission" movie alone is worth the price of a two-disk set. This is a wide-ranging but coherent collection with a generous booklet of source credits and nicely packaged with classical pieces on Disk One and more modern and varied pieces on Disk Two. Reviewers who call this "a good introduction" to Yo-Yo Ma hardly do it justice. This is a great, distinct addition to my classical collection -- and my large library of music period. A breathtakingly beautiful compilation.
I am a cellist myself, and Yo-Yo Ma is one of my favorites so I may be a little biased, but I honestly think almost anyone would like this album, even if they don't like classical music. This album has so many songs from so many genres that even if you don't like half of it, you'll still love the album. I really love classical, and had never really listened to Brazilian music before this album, but now Chega de Saudade (it's on this album!) is one of my favorite songs ever. I have discovered some artists that I had never heard of but am in love with now and this even got me listening to some new genres of music. Anyway this review is getting really long and rambly, but the point is you should get this album. I honestly think anyone of any age will enjoy this.
What a fabulous and diverse collection: Classical, American traditional, Chinese traditional, Appalachian, Brazilian, baroque, and jazz. along with music from musicals and movie scores. Solos, duets, trios, quartets, quintets, plus performances with his Silk Road Ensemble and with world-famous orchestras. Two and a half glorious hours of the world's most acclaimed living cellist playing the best from his incredible breadth of repertoire--Bach, Gershwin, Tan Dun, Porter, Jobim, Dvorak, Saint-Saens, Brahms, Porter, Villa-Lobos, Shostakovich, Meyer, Morricone and more...all on two discs and just under twelve bucks. Highly recommended.
A very good value as it is two CDs with something for every taste, from classical to folk to "show tunes" to world music, and of course all impeccably performed. If you have an "i" device, it will also automatically download there as well. A two-for-one if you give the physical as a gift as you will retain it on your device.