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The Essential Yo-Yo Ma

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Editors’ Notes

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

Yo-Yo Ma is the cello's foremost contemporary proponent; while primarily a classical performer, he has also made a number of highly successful crossover recordings. Born October 7, 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris, he began playing the cello at the age of four, later studying with Janos Scholz; in 1962, he also became the pupil of Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School, and was the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize in 1978. A Harvard graduate, Ma made his initial impact performing...
Full Bio

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  • $16.99
  • Genres: Classical, Music, Classical Crossover
  • Released: Apr 06, 2004

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