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The Essential Yo-Yo Ma

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iTunes Review

Yo-Yo Ma enjoyed so much well-deserved success early on that by his mid-30s he was able to start exploring in earnest music outside the European Classical canon. His Essential collection is helpfully divided into a classical first half (or side one) and a crossover part (or side two). Familiar favorites from Bach (“Suite No. 1 in G Major for Solo Cello,” “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”) and Vivaldi (the Largo movement from his Concerto in F minor) open the album, followed by selections by composers from the Romantic (Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Dvořák, Saint-Saëns, Massenet) and contemporary (Shostakovich, Kreisler, Gershwin) eras. Beyond that, Ma’s latter-day explorations of Brazilian and Chinese traditions—as well as bluegrass, jazz, standards from The Great American Songbook, and soundtrack music—have been curated here. Highlights include “Simple Gifts,” performed as a lovely duet with vocalist Alison Krauss, and a jaunty reading of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes.”

Customer Reviews

Gabriel's Oboe

Beautiful song, but don't buy this version as the recording blends into another song and it cuts off abruptly at the end. I bought it and was disappointed. Buy the stand alone version from the soundtrack. Happy listening!

Essential Yo-Yo Ma

A great album with a variety of selections that should please everyone. The classical to modern numbers allow Ma to display his outstanding virtuosity. This is a fantastic bargain for a two-disc set.

Great compilation

All the best songs, diverse, and performed with perfection-Highly recommended if you want an easy listen.


Born: October 7, 1955 in Paris, France

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Multiple Grammy-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma has a celebrity status and appeal that stretch far beyond fans of classical music. His success is due to a willingness to try new things, a genuine wish to share what he enjoys, plus a mastery of his instrument that comes through regardless of the musical style. Ma was born in Paris and, as the child of two musicians, naturally began music lessons very early, trying piano and all the string instruments before settling on cello. His first public performance...
Full Bio

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The Essential Yo-Yo Ma, Yo-Yo Ma
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  • $16.99
  • Genres: Classical, Music, Classical Crossover
  • Released: Apr 06, 2004

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