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.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma has long been a giant in the classical world, though he has also made a number of recordings with musicians who play other styles. This holiday disc doesn't exclusively stick to traditional Christmas songs, but covers a wide scope of material in a very ambitious manner.
"Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach" is one of several titles in Sony's new "Music For You" Series, easily identified by their artsy, photographic covers. The material on this CD has been available previously on CBS Masterworks. True, Ma does play music by Bach, but it is sonatas (originally intended for viola da gamba and not cello) by Bach, and the Sinfonia Concertante by Bach's youngest son, Johann Christian Bach. Not that Sony is lying and not that most people will care or feel cheated, but since this title is obviously aimed at classical novices, I just thought I'd set the record straight. In a similar vein, hopefully those that discover both Bach and Yo-Yo Ma via this disc will like what they hear, and go on to get one of Ma's two recordings of the Bach "Cello Suites" – the real yardstick for composer and performer alike. ~Amazon
After releasing more than two hours worth of material in less than a year, Tom Jenkinson returned in late 1999 with what looked to be another full LP, comprising 17 tracks and clocking in at 45 minutes. In fact, it's regarded as a "mini-album" and plays the part well. Similar to the 1999 Squarepusher EPs Budakhan Mindphone and Maximum Priest, Selection Sixteen alternates what sounds like outtakes from his last LP (Music Is Rotted One Note) – that is, short organic fusion cast-offs – with a set of hard-edged acid tracks, most of which chart the hyperkinetic drum'n'bass programming that fans expect. The album comes off surprisingly well, given both the glut of Squarepusher material in 1999, and the fact that Jenkinson is mixing'n'matching crazed drill'n'bass and more stately jazz-fusion, with little regard for album flow. The highlight here, "Square Rave," takes a little bit from both camps and ends up sounding like Aphex Twin (circa Selected Ambient Works 85-92) if he'd been working with jungle breakbeats. In addition to the 13-track album are four remixes, including one on which Jenkinson recruits his brother Andy for remixing duties.
The 20th century has not been kind to most standard classical music forms. The piano sonata, the concerto, the symphony – none of them have disappeared entirely, but none remain in a state that could be called even remotely healthy. The same was true of the string quartet until 1973, when violinist David Harrington got some friends together to play contemporary music and offered his old high-school composition teacher a bag of donuts if he'd write a piece for them…