Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Stephen J. [Composer] Albert, Bela Bartok, Ernest Bloch|
The New York Album
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Yo-Yo Ma In "New York," Or Is It Baltimore?
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 09/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The New York Album" by Yo-Yo Ma is an outstanding recording of three 20th century compositions for cello. However, the disc should be titled "The Baltimore Album," as they were made with the Baltimore Symphony (with David Zinman conducting) and were recorded in Charm City -- I guess Baltimore doesn't have the cachet of the Big Apple. The reason for the CD's title is that the three composers featured here and Ma himself were either born or have lived in New York.First, I'd like to address the concerns of the previous reviewer. This individual must not be familiar with the dynamics of classical music. Sure there are quiet parts featuring only Ma and louder moments when the whole orchestra joins in, but it is no different than any other recording. They may be more pronounced than usual in the Albert composition (for effect), but it never borders on poor sound quality. This is a digital recording -- it is state of the art and it sounds wonderful. I don't think Sony Classical or Yo-Yo Ma would have their names associated with such an inferior product. Maybe he/she needs a new stereo?With that said, let's get to disc's material. "The New York Album" begins with Stephen Albert's haunting and expressive Concerto for Cello and Orchestra. This is the world premiere recording of this piece, commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Unfortunately, it is also one of Albert's final pieces as he sadly died in a car accident in 1992, before this CD was released. Bartok's Concerto for Viola and Orchestra is next, and it gives us the opportunity to hear Ma on alto violin, a vertical viola. (Like the Third Piano Concerto, the Viola Concerto was unfinished at the time of Bartok's death, and the task of deciphering the sketches and completing the work for both was entrusted to Tibor Serly.) The final composition is a rhapsody for cello entitled "Schelomo" by Ernest Bloch. I was not familiar with the composer prior to purchasing this disc, and his work is a soulful, often tumultuous piece that fits perfectly in terms of style with the other material despite the fact that it was authored almost 30 and 70 years earlier than the Bartok and Albert respectively.In all, this is another wonderful outing for Yo-Yo Ma, and fans of his work should not hesitate to go to "New York.""
Stephen Albert's Concerto for Cello is a masterpiece
Robert A Phelan | Brookline, Ma United States | 12/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a fan of Stephen Albert's music ever since I heard his Riverun Symphony. The cello concerto, in this modest writer's opinion, is one of the best late works for cello of the 1990's, or for that matter 20th century. Yo-Yo Ma plays with a soulful intensity that is matched in time by David Zinman and the Baltimore Symphony. A note to all cellists: please learn Albert's concerto, it deserves to be performed again and again. When I bought this disk, I knew the combination of Ma and Zinman would not disappoint me and I am right. This disk should be a memorial for Albert who died in a very tragic car accident on Cape Cod in 1992. It is a true tragedy in every sense of the word. Stephen Albert was an up and coming composer at the time of his death. The nation lost a potentially great artist. The other works on the disk, the Bartok Concerto for Viola transcribed for cello and Ernest Bloch's Sholomo are showcases for the cello that show off Ma's incredible skill. As for the sound of the disk, it does sound at times cramped but Ma's playing and the leadership of Zinman makes up for the discrepancy; marvelous performances all around."
Robert A Phelan | 09/01/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have to agree that there is nothing wrong with the sound. On the contrary, this is a great quality recording and each of the pieces is worth the price of the disc. The cello sound is crystal clear. I still have no favorites, well maybe the Bartok piece but it is difficult to say depending on one's mood. Each piece is interesting and captivating enough to make you listen to it more than once. I would like to listen to more of Stephen Albert's works and to recommend the Rouse's Cello Concerto with Yo Yo Ma and Zinman."