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Yo-Yo Ma Plays Music of John Williams


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Yo-Yo Ma Plays Music of John Williams   

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I gotta be honest, I don't own this album. I just wanted to know whether I should shell out 25 Euros for it and get it. So, those of you who DO have it, what do you say?

BTW, I listened to a clip of "Elegy for Cello and Orchestra" and that's "Regaining A Son," right??? :lol:

Also, does anyone have this album?

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I do and I like it very much. While I am not fond of two out of Three Pieces for Solo Cello, the Concerto (with it's epic beginning, ballsy scherzo and tender finale) is terrific and I simply love soulful and delicate Heartwood (it's one of my favourite non-film composition of JW).

If you don't mind that sort of John Williams' music, get it!

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Where did you find this at that price? 25€ certainly sounds a bit high to me. But I guess some CD stores over price film music and classical music.

I love this album (I am sure my comments do not surprise when it comes to John Williams). The Cello Concerto alone is well worth the money. Such an expressive piece and especially the IV movement Song is exquisite.

The Elegy for Cello and Orchestra is indeed an expanded orchestration for the Regaining A Son from Seven Years in Tibet. But Williams expanded the melody for the funeral of 2 children of a violinist friend of his where it was performed by piano and cello and this is another reorchestration for cello and orchestra. Absolutely beautiful. Most film music like of all the compositions on this album.

Three Pieces for Solo Cello is a more challenging set of tracks. This is entirely abstract piece with no relation to Rosewood score even though one of the pieces is named so. Williams wanted to write solo pieces which would be informed with the African American experience and sounds and he succeeds in this quite well.

Rosewood starts peacefully but develops from moody to a tortured frenzy (yes on solo cello) and the instrument groans and moans very effectively.

Pickin' is a more Southernly sounding scherzando for solo cello

The Long Road North is peaceful and lyrical with some lamenting passages. The best of the three in my opinion.

Heartwood: Another tree inspired work from Williams. Serene and calm it conjures great images of forest in my mind and rises to a beautiful crescendo around 12 minute mark. One of my favourite of JWs concert works. One adjective good for it could be contemplative.

You should get this CD if you love JWs concert works in general. Do not expect film score melodicism from all of this music as you will not find it. But Williams' voice can clearly be heard in this music, his deft skill at orchestration and lyricism and the more intimate side of his music when he has an opporturnity to write freely just pure music. And one nice detail is that JW has written the liner notes himself. :lol:

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Thanks, guys. After reading your comments on it, I feel like I have to get it. :lol:

Now, what about Appassionata? Granted, there's only one JW track on it (and that's only 2:37 minutes long), but is THAT worth getting?

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I have the SACD & regular release of Yo-Yo Ma Plays Music of John Williams and I can recommend the album as well.

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I'm so sorry, but I had to give this album 2 stars. It really just is not my thing. The first movement of the concerto has some moments I really do like, but on the whole, I am just not fond of this sort of sound. Doesn't make me feel very much.

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  • 13 years later...

I'm listening to this album today, just finished the Concerto for Cello and Orchestra.

 

Wow!  Might be my favorite of his Concertos?

 

Who else wants to share their thoughts on the album and/or vote on this old poll?

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Have you heard the revised version on the Gathering of Friends album?  Perhaps a poll on the original versus new?  

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I have, though I honestly don't remember what I thought about it!

 

Well, I finished the rest of the album now, and I can't say the rest of the album is half as compelling as the opening Concerto tracks.  But still overall some interesting material that I look forward to delving deeper into some day

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I have also liked the Elegy and Heartsong, but the pieces for solo cello never connected with me.  Even the Elegy, though, is a bit frustrating.  It has the perfect melody (from Seven Years), which is given one full workout.  Then the strained variations follows, which are appropriate to the context of an elegy, but I keep wanting the melody to have one more full statement.  

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Watching Yo Yo Ma play Pickin' 20 feet in front of me at Tanglewood the other week was fantastic, but listening to it on album isn't as compelling

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I should give the whole thing a relisten.  I bought the album when it came out.  I was still in, though toward the end of, my "why doesn't JW's concert sound like his film scores" stage.  I probably did not give it all a fair listen.  

 

I like the revised concerto more, but I find the Blues movement distracting in both.  

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And there were reports a suite for Angela's Ashes was recorded at the some recording sessions. Alas, some 20 years later, they've yet to be released. If I recall, the info came from someone who was at the sessions. I know there's a live version, but I'd kill for a studio recording. Angela's Prayer with cello is sublime!

 

Regarding the cello concerto, I'm not as familiar with the whole thing as I'd like to be, but I much prefer the softer opening of the latest version. 

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2 hours ago, pete said:

And there were reports a suite for Angela's Ashes was recorded at the some recording sessions. Alas, some 20 years later, they've yet to be released. If I recall, the info came from someone who was at the sessions. I know there's a live version, but I'd kill for a studio recording. Angela's Prayer with cello is sublime!

 

Regarding the cello concerto, I'm not as familiar with the whole thing as I'd like to be, but I much prefer the softer opening of the latest version. 

 

Yes it was released, I don't think it is still accessible though. The BSO for a period about ten years ago until they changed their website had a live recording of it on there from Tangelwood with Frank McCourt narrating.

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The Cello Concerto remains being my favourite Williams piece, concert work or otherwise. The Violin Concerto No. 2 being a close second.

I always loved the whole album and the new revision was a wonderful gift that made me even more enchanted with the whole piece.

The remaining works on the CD are just beautiful and Heartwood inspired me in a series of paintings back in the early 00's.

I actually love the three solo pieces, even in the studio recording, though there is some kind of natural energy always present in live performances. Unfortunately, can't recall Ma performing the whole set, just Pickin', in live broadcast.

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8 hours ago, WilliamsStarShip2282 said:

 

Yes it was released, I don't think it is still accessible though. The BSO for a period about ten years ago until they changed their website had a live recording of it on there from Tangelwood with Frank McCourt narrating.

 

These Tanglewood recordings are documented on the website "Somewhere in My Memory" :

 

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On 14/09/2022 at 9:14 AM, Jay said:

Who else wants to share their thoughts on the album an

 

It's such a bitchin' album, I think pound for pound it's Williams best album of concert music. Though I've really grown to love the Memoirs-ified opening of the revised Cello Concerto, the heraldic bon-voyage fanfare that opens this version is great. With parts like the Scherzo, you can definitely tell this came around the time of Jurassic Park!

 

I don't listen to Heartwood very often--once every five years or so--but its fat stacks of brass chords, deep-roots pedal tones  and branch-like reaching, yearning string melodies touches my soul everytime I hear it. --Yep, listening to it now, holy crap.

 

The Three Pieces for Solo Cello are pretty cool, and I love seeing the side of Williams that resonates with and explores black American history: I've said it many times, but behind trees, it's probably his most consistent inspiration.

 

 

On 14/09/2022 at 9:14 AM, Jay said:

and/or vote on this old poll?

 

:lol: :lol::lol:

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