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Yo-Yo Ma - Plays Bach CD

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CBS/Sony Classical has been accompanying superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma for decades on his journey through the unsurpassed works written for his instrument by Johann Sebastian Bach. Sony Classical is pleased to announce the release of a single CD of important landmarks from that journey.
 
Ma’s first recording of Bach’s six Solo Suites, which went on to win the Grammy for “Best Classical Instrumental Performance” and which is represented here by the Sarabande from the Sixth Suite, took place in 1982. In the same year Yo-Yo Ma recorded Bach’s complete sonatas for viola da gamba with harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper, readings hailed by Gramophone as “intelligent and expressive”.
 
The Third Solo Suite is included on the new disc in its entirety, in a 1994 recording made in the context of Ma’s innovatory Inspired by Bach project, in which the suites formed the basis for collaborations with film directors and other artists. BBC Music Magazine’s reviewer in 2006 compared Ma’s performances to the benchmark set made by Pablo Casals in the late 1930s, concluding, “If you want a more modern version, you can’t do better”; while the Penguin Guide wrote, “Yo-Yo Ma’s playing has a characteristic rhythmic freedom and favours the widest range of dynamic. The improvisatory effect is seemingly spontaneous, for Ma seems right inside every bar of the music.”
 
Yo-Yo Ma’s explorations of Bach have also taken him far beyond his instrument’s core repertoire to some highly enterprising collaborations with the Baroque specialist Ton Koopman. Inspired by Bach’s own practice of recycling his music, the renowned Dutch conductor-organist-harpsichordist transcribed a selection of Bach works for solo cello and chamber ensemble, and in 1998 Sony recorded these pieces with Ma playing a Baroque cello, alongside Koopman and musicians from his Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra playing period instruments.
 
Among Koopman’s transcriptions are several chorales, the ubiquitous “Air”, the sublime aria “Erbarme dich” from the St. Matthew Passion and, surprisingly, the aria theme from the Goldberg Variations, “its beauty arrestingly recast by such dark sonorities [cello and organ]”, declared BBC Music Magazine. Gramophone found “the inevitable ‘Air’ from the Third Orchestral Suite tellingly arranged (as a duet for cellos) and superbly played”.
 
Finally, as an encore, the album offers the Fancy on a Bach Air created for Yo-Yo Ma by John Corigliano and recorded by the cellist in 1999. The American composer based this rhapsodic seven-minute piece on the Prelude from Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1. Wrote ClassicsToday.com: “The music not only sings but also speaks through Yo-Yo Ma’s generous cello mastery.”
 
TRACKLISTING
 
The Six Unaccompanied Cello Suites (from Inspired by Bach)
Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009
 
1.PreÌ_ålude 03:17
2.Allemande 03:36
3.Courante 03:01
4.Sarabande 04:46
5 BourreÌ_åe 1 & 2 03:19
6 Gigue 03:05
Simply Baroque
7.Bach-åäÌÝåKoopman: Erbarme dich (MatthaÌ_̦us-- åäÌÝåPassion), BWV 244 07:20
8. Bach-åäÌÝåKoopman: Air (Suite III), BWV 1068 05:04
9. Bach-åäÌÝåKoopman: Jesus, bleibet meine Freude (Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring), BWV 147 02:41 Bach -åäÌÝå Sonatas for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord
Sonata No. 1 in G Major for Cello and Harpsichord, BWV 1027
10. I. Adagio 03:50
11.II. Allegro Ma Non Tanto 03:18
12. III. Andante 03:00
13. IV. Allegro Moderato 03:02
Simply Baroque II
14. Bach-åäÌÝåKoopman: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Sleepers Awake), BWV 645 03:48
15. Bach-åäÌÝåKoopman: Aria from "Goldberg Variations," BWV 988 04:40
16. Bach-åäÌÝåKoopman: Schafe koÌ_̦nnen sicher weiden (Sheep May Safely Graze), BWV 208 03:38
Songs from the Arc of Life
17. Bach-åäÌÝåGounod: Ave Maria 02:43
The Six Unaccompanied Cello Suites
Bach -- Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012
18. Sarabande 04:26
Hush (Bobby McFerrin)
19. Air from Orchestral Suite No. 3 (Vocal) 05:12
Corigliano: Phantasmagoria
20. Corigliano: Fancy on a Bach Air 07:01
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