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Concertos from the New World [Bonus Tracks]
     

Concertos from the New World [Bonus Tracks]

by Yo-Yo Ma
 
This 1995 Yo-Yo Ma recording gave a good indication of his accurate nose for programming that was accessible yet adventuresome and original. Ma, performing with the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur, pairs the Dvorák "Cello Concerto in B minor" with the "Concerto No. 2 for

Overview

This 1995 Yo-Yo Ma recording gave a good indication of his accurate nose for programming that was accessible yet adventuresome and original. Ma, performing with the New York Philharmonic under Kurt Masur, pairs the Dvorák "Cello Concerto in B minor" with the "Concerto No. 2 for cello and orchestra in E minor, Op. 30," by none other than Victor Herbert, composer of "Naughty Marietta," "Babes in Toyland," and other light classics. The Dvorák performance has also been repackaged with other Dvorák works, but this presentation is fresh and enjoyable. The two concertos were close to each other in space, time, and general background. Herbert's piece was first performed in New York on March 9, 1894. Reviews were mixed, and it hasn't been heard much since. But Dvorák, in the midst of his visit to America, was in attendance, hugged Herbert after the performance, and exclaimed "famos! famos! -- ganz famos!" (terrific! terrific! absolutely terrific!). He had likely been mulling over a shelved cello concerto of his own, and the most beloved of all works for cello and orchestra was finished within a year. The Herbert work is shorter than Dvorák's and has a more explicitly cyclic form, with the first movement's main theme recurring in the finale and also becoming juxtaposed with slow-movement material. Yet there are similarities galore between the two works. The liner notes don't go into these, wisely letting Ma's cello do the talking. The ways in which the appearance of lyrical material is set up, the quasi-operatic voice of the cello when it enters the fray, and the general mood layout of the three movements are parallel in the two concertos. Do the similarities result from Dvorák's having had Herbert's work in his head as he composed his own? Or are they simply the natural outcome of both composers' immersion in the Brahmsian musical thinking of the day? Interesting questions to think about -- and kudos are due to Ma for raising them with this disc. The music throughout is tuneful and enjoyable for anybody; Ma's interpretation of the Dvorák concerto is not a big, dramatic one but rather a warm, fun ride through the composer's inexhaustible sequence of melodic inventions. Two shorter Dvorák pieces round out the disc: "Klid" (Silent Woods) and a transcription of the "Humoresque No. 7 in G flat major" for violin, cello, and orchestra. These two works are accompanied by the Boston Symphony under the baton of Seiji Ozawa, with Itzhak Perlman taking the solo violin part in the "Humoresque." About the only negative to mention here is that the two concerto recordings were made in the sonically mushy confines of Avery Fisher Hall, something inexplicably trumpeted on the CD's cover. Nevertheless, this disc will give fresh ears even to those who've heard the Dvorák concerto a hundred times.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/24/2004
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0827969307229
catalogNumber:
93072

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Cello Concerto in B minor, B. 191 (Op. 104)

    1. I. Allegro  (15:11)
    2. II. Adagio, ma non troppo  (12:33)
    3. III. Finale. Allegro moderato  (12:58)
  2. Cello Concerto No.2 in E minor, Op. 30

    1. I. Allegro impetuoso  (08:14)
    2. II. Andante tranquillo  (06:49)
    3. III. Allegro  (05:44)
  3. Silent Woods (Klid), for piano, 4 hands (From the Bohemian Forest), B. 133/5 (Op. 68/5)  (06:21)
  4. Humoresque No. 7 for piano in G flat major, B. 187/7 (Op. 101/7)  (03:31)

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Yo-Yo Ma   Primary Artist

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