I bought this for my father to listen to during a 2hr ambulance transfer and later I played it for him during an emergency room visit late at night when he was having a bad time. He told me afterward that it was a great comfort to him. Bach is his favorite composer and noone can compare to Yo-Yo Ma. During his hospital stay he would listen to these cd's and the nurses would ask him to turn it up for others to hear. Excellent collection if you are looking for a calming background.
This was one of the first pieces of classical music that I fell in love with, thanks to Yo-Yo Ma's performance. I know that a lot of people prefer other interpretations by Casals (undoubtedly the best), Starker (so precise) and Fournier (stately), et al. Actually they're all beautiful, really. But if I have to choose, I would take Ma's and Casals' versions. Ma's take is lighter, more fluid, youthful and romantic. Casals is deep, emotional, and bluer (if that means anything). If Ma's version is like milk chocolate, then Casals' is dark chocolate. Lol. Get it.
Note on vinyl and CD versions of Ma's recording: If you're a vinyl collector, forget the vinyl. Just get the CD - sounds much better.
Note on vinyl and CD versions of Casals' recording: Get the vinyl, if you can find it!
I've always enjoyed listening to a well-played cello. One night, as I was listening to Yo-Yo Ma, my autistic son came into the room, smiled, and asked what this music was. I explained to him who Yo-Yo Ma was and showed him pictures of various cellos. He relaxed on the couch, put his hands behind his head, and said, "This is beautiful, mom." I now send the CD to school with him and his class listens to it in the afternoon while doing school work. At home, I often hear cello music drifting from his room while he plays.
Never underestimate the power of the cello and a prodigy cellist.
I have purchased Bach's Cello Suites before. Each artist has his or her own take. What stuns me about this exceptional recording is that Ma has taken a different take than 20 years ago when he recorded the Suites as part of a documentary that he hosted. I suspect that he has more music wisdom. He confidently makes the louds more powerful, the softs more delicate. This recording represents the art of a musician in full. I recommend it enthusiastically.
Bach is my favorite composer,and this is one of my favorite things by him. Ma plays this flawlessly and beautifully. So does Rostropovich, but I can't find his version and somehow lost Yo-Yo Ma's, so I had to buy still another copy. I've read people write about music that one performance is better than another. Yeah. I don't know why I bought Ma instead of Rostropovich. Both are wonderful. With maybe Ma a little gentler, Rostropovich a little rough and grainy.
I've always wondered - about things by Bach such as this. Do performers have to read the music while they play it? How in the world can they memorize all that - like for a live performance? And how do I know they're not fooling me and making it all up as they go along? Would I ever know the difference if they were? So much for my love of Bach. Maybe I'm just liking Ma, Rostropovich, Schiff, Perahia - all improvising. A guy could get paranoid.
Lest it be left unclear, I still love this performance of the cello suites and would recommend it to anyone.
Just on a technical level, the 2-CD set arrived pronto, and in perfect condition, like new. I ordered this because Yo Yo Ma has been touring the US for two years with this Bach program, specifically offering it as a meditation on grief and loss. It is particularly suited for listening during autumn into winter. I recommend it for anyone, and most especially anyone who is experiencing loss and recovery. It is profound, wise, melancholy, and strong.
This is the first of three times Ma's recorded these suites, and he's been brilliant in a slightly different way each time. This is from his earlier days, but is no less excellent than the more recent recordings. And the recording is very good as well. It may be my favorite recording of suite I's prélude; it's hard to pick.