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Product Description

Any new compilation CD starring Yo-Yo Ma is certain to please. This master of the cello takes the listener through so many types of music that the ear and mind never tire. The present selection is billed as a sort of "musical autobiography," and, indeed, it gives us a tour of Ma's musical life. The Silk Road Project is represented by Zhao's "Swallow Song," with its eerie, fascinating soundscape (specially re-recorded for this CD). We also accompany Ma on his excursions into the world of the baroque cello with Vivaldi or of the Finnish folk song (by Mamiya, a first recording). There are Gershwin's languid Second Prelude, with its intimations of the song "Summertime," and an all-new recording of a nine-minute heart-breaker by Astor Piazzolla ("Soledad"). Ma also gives us more familiar Brahms, Franck, and Saint-Saens. The compilation's mellow 65 minutes offer relaxing, beautiful music, all exquisitely played. Ma is joined by the best: Emanuel Ax, Kathryn Stott, John Williams (who plays piano on his own "Going to School" from Memoirs of a Geisha), Isaac Stern, and Claudio Abbado. This is a veritable Who's Who of superb musicians. --Robert Levine

Customer Reviews:

  • Ma exhibits the full range of his passion
    Yo Yo Ma is known for pushing the bounds of classical music and his new cd is no exception. He began playing cello at the age of 4, and attended Julliard, Colombia, and Harvard. His primary cello today was made by Domenico Montagnana in Venice in 1733. Ma has played all types of music, from bluegrass to tango, and Appassionato is a celebration of his versatility. Ma appears here with many longtime friends, including Emmanual Ax and Isaac Stern. His close relationships are apparent in the absolute harmony of these collaborations. His new album opens with a light tune, a theme from the recent film "Memoirs of a Geisha." It then plunges into an exploration of dynamics between Ma's cello and the piano of Kathryn Stott. Reminiscent at times of Gershwin's playful "Rhapsody in Blue," the album is highly engaging, but it varies rapidly between sweet and alluring to soulful and dramatic. "Yanzi" is a ghostly tune featuring the shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese flute. Brahms "'Double Concerto', Op. 102" with Isaac Stern is the finest showcase of Ma's flair and emotion, smooth and deep, with unbelievable heights. The tracks on the album were picked by Ma himself, to "represent various aspects of love." It is a carefully crafted autobiography of works recorded from 1978 to 2006, some previously released and some new. Far from a "best of" but spanning his career, Appassionato is a journey that spans the emotions and leaves the listener without a doubt that Yo Yo Ma is one of the finest cello artists in the world....more info
  • Appassionato is brilliant
    With each selection of this disc, the listener recalls a renowned performance. Yo-Yo Ma is unrivaled in his eclectic yet responsible interpretation of the richest music in the world. I could listen to this disc over and over and still experience moments when the next track causes me to think, oh yeah, I like this one a lot!...more info
  • Expand your mind get this cd
    Cello being my favorite instrument and YoYo Ma being the best cellist right now. Well you can't go wrong. Fantastic cd....more info
  • Beautiful Collection
    I heard an interview with Mr. Ma on NPR discussing this collection of pieces. They are some of his favorites. He is a master and this album explores his range of genius. This a wonderful collection of his work....more info
  • Great Artist, Poor Recording
    Horrible, horrible recording. Yo Yo Ma, as usual, gives a great performance. The sound engineer, Richard King, should be run out of his profession. The recording is muddled, piano and other instruments are too loud, and even the sound of the cello is occasionally distorted. You can hear Ma breathing and other distracting sounds during the course of certain songs....more info
  • Irena Tully "Impulse Productions"
    Yo-Yo Ma performs Appassionato with superb technique, and the music on this album is sublime, mystical, sensual, optimistic, gentle and powerful at the same time. A real treat for those who seek an emotional challenge and a profound artistic experience. The more I listen to this CD the more I am astonished by the great selection of the music. It's always such a strong moment when the Cello meets the Oboe in "Gabriel's Oboe" and how they reach for each other and rise together into the most mesmerizing interaction - one is transported to a world of beautiful feelings by this music and how it is played here.
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  • Music for the soul
    Sometimes you have to just stop and listen to some really great musician play his soul out, and in this CD, that is the opportunity we are offered....more info
  • Feedback on Appassionato
    I loved the CD. The music sounds poetic and utterly inspirational! I was looking for cello music that was deep and moving and that is exactly what I got with this CD....more info
  • A few excellent tracks!
    I am not connnoisseur of classical music, and bought this cd only because I like violin and cello music, and wanted to experience Yo-Yo Ma. My reaction is therefore more related to my liking for or indifference to certain pieces, than to Yo-Yo Ma's artistry, which I do not criticize. All of the tracks were enjoyable, but the two that I play over and over again are Saint-Saen's The Swan, and Morricone's The Mission: Gabriel's Oboe. These are both sensitively and beautifully performed. And hearing the latter has just motivated me to buy the soundtrack of the Mission!...more info
  • The Best Yet!
    This new CD has fresh sounds appealing to the ear and the soul....more info
  • I am now SOOO hooked
    You can not go wrong with ANY of his Album. I am now collecting ALL of them since my first CD which was a surprise gift to me, I just fall in love. I do Yoga everyday, and fitness work out everyday. I love listening to his CDs whenever to focus my vision, emotion, and relaxes my body. I also like to cook a nice meal while playing his CDs. I wish he was not married! ha ha. ...more info