Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 36

The Cello Suites: Inspired by Bach by Yo Yo Ma

Yes, I listen to Bach for fun. Solo cello at that. If you are unfamiliar than you quickly need to become acquainted as Ma's version of these pieces are just gorgeous.

Without writing an essay, there are a lot of critics who have problems with Ma's playing as he often doesn't follow period-correct performance practice to the letter. However, in my humble opinion, his musicality and phrasing more than make this recording a powerful experience. 

My favorite movements are the well-known Prelude from the first suite in G, the Prelude from the fourth suite in Eb (very under-appreciated if you ask me) and the Allemande from the second suite in D minor. 

More than any other instrumental musician I've met, Ma plays the way I imagine a vocalist would sing. His lines are always pushed and pulled in ways that make more straightforward versions sound mechanical or lifeless. 

If you haven't heard Yo-yo's second recording of the cello suites (he recorded them much earlier in his career as well), then I highly recommend you lock yourself in a quite room with a nice set of bookshelf speakers and let him sing to you!

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