add to wish list | library


8 of 8 recommend this,
would you recommend it?

yes | no

Support this site by purchasing from these vendors using the links provided below. As an Amazon Associate SA-CD.net earns from qualifying purchases.
 
amazon.ca
amazon.co.uk
amazon.com
amazon.de
 
amazon.fr
amazon.it
 
 

Discussion: Solo - Yo-Yo Ma

Posts: 16
Page: 1 2 next

Post by zeus August 17, 2003 (1 of 16)
I've noticed over the years that this particular disc definitely seems to polarize opinions ... you either love it or you hate it. It got a good write up in Stereophile a few years ago (it's always fun to compare Gramophone and Stereophile). Ma is more a technician than a musician but I particularly like his work on the Bright Sheng piece for its colour. The recording is maybe overly detailed but not oppressive. Anyway, I pull it out every now and then.

Stephen

Post by nucaleena August 19, 2003 (2 of 16)
zeus said:

I've noticed over the years that this particular disc definitely seems to polarize opinions ... you either love it or you hate it. It got a good write up in Stereophile a few years ago (it's always fun to compare Gramophone and Stereophile). Ma is more a technician than a musician but I particularly like his work on the Bright Sheng piece for its colour. The recording is maybe overly detailed but not oppressive. Anyway, I pull it out every now and then.

Stephen

hi stephen. I agree that the Sheng pieces are colourful and would like to hear them again in different hands. What's become clearer to me in retrospect/context is that, of the only three SACDs I've given harsh reviews to (out of 24), two involved Ma. I also disliked the John Williams cello concerto disc, which, looking back, contained many of the same performing flaws and was just as deficient musically. The lesson for me (and of course, only for me) is, avoid Ma and the music he chooses to record in future.

Re. the Stereophile/Gram thing, i agree that its fun to compare, especially on english music. Gram. writers want the whole world to play english pieces to demonstrate their world-wide appeal, but then criticise them for, basically their "unenglishness". Glenn Gould did a quite amusing take on Grampophone's tendencies on the original record sleeve for the Liszt transcription of the Beethoven 5th. See if you can find it somewhere, it was unsubtle but pretty close. I've got the Spano/Telarc recording of the RVW 1st on order simply because the two magazines were so divided on it I thought it might be fun to see who got it "right" this time.

Post by Julien April 17, 2007 (3 of 16)
zeus said:

Ma is more a technician than a musician...

Dear Stephen, I don't understand what recording made you state that. To me he is everything but a technician. His art of phrasing is absolutely superb and free of any technical limitations of the instrument. Few can achieve that.
I usually like him a lot better in chamber music though, and not in everything. Not technician, but too American "showman" in concertos sometimes. That's why I totally understand people who dislike him.
But among cellists I've never heard any player who is as versatile and as much able to melt in an ensemble as Yo-Yo Ma.
He his, in my opinion, a musical genius.

Post by Windsurfer April 17, 2007 (4 of 16)
Julien said:
Yo-Yo Ma...is in my opinion, a musical genius.

Oui Monsieur!

But have you heard Rostropovitch?

Without taking anything from Ma, so too is "Slava"! He, like Julia Fischer, plays from within the orchestra not apart from it, engaging soloists within the orchestra when there are dialogs between solo cello and those instrumentalists!

Post by Dan Popp April 17, 2007 (5 of 16)
George Flanagin wrote in his review of this disc:
"Let's suppose the air conditioners, truck rumble, and personal favorite -- the train running under Henry Wood Hall -- do not make sounds that find their way into the ears of most listeners. Why not engage some kind of high pass filter when recording a solo instrument whose lowest note is 65.4Hz (when using standard concert pitch)?"

George, not to engage in flaming at all, but merely to answer your question: many engineers feel that there is no such thing as a sonically neutral filter. Plus, some would disagree with the assumption that only musical information - and not accurate information about the sonics of the hall, etc. - should be part of the recording. Many audiophiles seem to agree that *any* unnecessary circuitry is anathema.

So this is another question of preferences and trade-offs, rather than an objective "right" or "wrong" choice. If rolloff filters had been engaged, somone else would be upset about that.

Post by zeus April 17, 2007 (6 of 16)
Julien said:

Dear Stephen, I don't understand what recording made you state that.

It's just that I've never heard anything from him that engages me. The notes are all there, but that's all. The Bright Sheng piece on Solo - Yo-Yo Ma is worthwhile though.

Post by Beagle April 17, 2007 (7 of 16)
Julien said:
too American "showman" ... a musical genius.

Julien,

As Stephen stated Ma 'polarises'. I think you've captured the essence of the matter in the above quoted words: there's more than one facet to this Yo-Yo.

One can call it 'musical genius' or 'mere technical mastery' but the guy knows how to play 'cello. The issue then becomes, to what end does he deploy his forces? You and I share many enthusiams, but I regret to say that Ma is not one. It is exactly that showmanship, that 'playing to the crowd' which (IMHO) often involves adding more sugar than the recipe calls for.

But don't let my dull ears spoil your enjoyment! The main goal of sa-cd.net may be the encouragement of more sacds, but an interesting by-product is the daily illustration that there is NOT just one way to hear music. I will ever after listen to Ma with more interest, because you hear him as a genius (i.e. I may just have to buy this disc and listen carefully).

Post by georgeflanagin April 17, 2007 (8 of 16)
Dan Popp said:

Many audiophiles seem to agree that *any* unnecessary circuitry is anathema.

So this is another question of preferences and trade-offs, rather than an objective "right" or "wrong" choice. If rolloff filters had been engaged, somone else would be upset about that.

I know. I know. I know.

I guess I consider myself an audiophile and an engineer. I want an enjoyable musical experience in the home, and if it takes a few more transistors in circuit to do the job, so be it.

There is an option that does not involve the recording or playback equipment: find the power switch on the air handler, and turn it off.

Post by georgeflanagin April 17, 2007 (9 of 16)
Beagle said:

As Stephen stated Ma 'polarises'.

And it is unfortunate that many fans of legit music feel this way. Among my friends who are /not/ fans of legit music, Ma is the one active performer that each can name.

I suspect the collective reaction among legit music fans is related to a growing awareness of the options. I have nine complete sets of the Bach Suites. It certainly is not true that I dislike Ma's work: I have both of his traversals. I like Miasky's phrasing in the 1985 traversal. I dislike Rostropovich's sloppy execution, and I tolerate Casals' 1930s recordings to hear how it all started.

Yet, I have recommended the budget DSD remaster of Ma's 1982(?) traversal to a few people, and I do so with no reservations. If Ma is the only cellist they hear, it will not hurt them.

Post by Julien April 17, 2007 (10 of 16)
Windsurfer said:

Oui Monsieur!

But have you heard Rostropovitch?

Without taking anything from Ma, so too is "Slava"! He, like Julia Fischer, plays from within the orchestra not apart from it, engaging soloists within the orchestra when there are dialogs between solo cello and those instrumentalists!

What you say here is interesting. Even if Ma's style of play in concertos is very "showman" sometimes, any musician who has played with him will tell you that he is one of the most outstanding chamber music players in this world. This has never been the case for Slava. I even remember Richter's comments about their Beethoven triple concerto, admiring Oistrakh and saying how Rostropovitch and Karajan were more concerned about their ego than the music.

On this matter, he is closer to Julia Fischer, who truly is a chamber music player even in concertos. She, unlike many soloists out there, does not play ahead of the orchestra, but inside. You're absolutely right.

Slava was not really playing inside the orchestra in my opinion. That is, of course, compared to other fantastic musicians, which he is of course.

Pablo Casals, Slava Rostropovitch, and Yo-Yo Ma. These are for sure the three ambassadors of the cello in the 20th century. Three truly great artists. Casals is like the father, Slava is the cellist among cellists, the most perfect cello technique you will ever hear and the sound every single cellist tries to imitate without success. Yo-Yo is the child prodigy, Stern's "protégé", who then made the cello popular among many different worlds, playing all kinds of music with no borders and becoming a star even outside the classical world.

I meet many people who do not take him seriously, thinking that someone who plays any kind of music and advertises for Rolex must be closer to Hollywood's red carpet and cannot be a serious artist. Well for most people it would be like it. Not Yo-Yo Ma.

And by the way Bruce, if you love Slava, have a look at my review on his Arpeggione sonata. Even if you're a multi-channel guy, the recording is the best analogue stereo possible on a perfect remastering. And also the best I've ever hear from Slava.

Page: 1 2 next

Closed