New Jersey Symphony Orchestra with Yo-Yo Ma

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Studio 360 Episode 842, Yo-Yo Man, Boston, The 99 Yo-Yo Ma (Stephen Danelian)

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma joins the New Jersey Symphony in Elgar's Cello Concerto, one of the great standards of the cello literature. Conductor Antoni Witt also leads the orchestra in a pair of early-20th century favorites: Elgar's Enigma Variations and Ravel's Bolero. Midge Woolsey and Ellliott Forrest hosted this broadcast from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

WQXR's broadcast ended with an encore solo version of "Appalachian Waltz," dedicated to the recovery efforts for Hurricane Sandy. "I know people are still working really really hard in the recovery process," Ma told Forrest in a post-concert interview. It harks back to a place in Appalachia where people have really hard lives. That plaintive sound in the music is a reflection of what people are going through."

The encore also marked a performance recovery of sorts: earlier in the evening Ma experienced a technical glitch with a peg on his cello, one that was fixed swiftly on the spot, and the performance carried on.

Comments [14]

israeli jaffe from east 86th st. NYC

the reason that there are so few comments relative to listeners from NYC compared to the outliers, is because most NYC listeners cannot receive the transmission from your ststion. It is shameful I and others have written in the past over the last 3 years, since you, the NY Times etc have sold out your listeners. You might even be able to rectify this by employing the new transmitter at one world trade center. Start a special fund for this projectn and I'll be the first to contribute.

Apr. 10 2013 11:47 AM
Holliday from Purchase, NY

Al -- I feel badly you were so disappointed with the concert. i enjoyed the broadcast very much. Most symphony concerts are just that, with guest artists playing a concerto and the like......I don't believe it was advertised as a Yo-Yo Ma concert with NJS as simply accompaniment. Of course, Mr. Ma is the draw, especially with a smaller orchestral organization but, it was still a NJS concert. The Elgar cto is a big, beautiful and popular piece of music and Mr. Ma gave it his usual brilliance and shimmer. Peg problem, notwithstanding -- that's a real Pro! And, I wouldn't characterize the Enigma Variations as an obscure Elgar piece. Absurd! Gorgeous and popular piece of music.
Thanks WQXR for the live broadcast, the great interviews and giving another New York area, non-NYPHIL (whom I love) arts organization some air time and attention.

Jan. 14 2013 01:29 PM
Mary Jane Hodge from Melville, NY

Where can I find a recording of the whole concert - want to listen again and share with my family.

Jan. 12 2013 11:54 AM
al sundstrom

I write this as a warning to people who are thinking of purchasing tickets to events at the NJPAC. Last night my wife and I attended what was to have been a performance of Yo-Yo Ma with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. The problem? Mr. Ma was AWOL for better than two thirds of the evening’s performance.

Perhaps this wasn’t a complete bait-and-switch situation, but I doubt that many people would have attended if they had known that before hearing Mr. Ma, they would have to listen to a little better than third rate symphony orchestra trudge through an obscure Elgar composition and then give an unimaginative and dowdy performance of Ravel’s Bolero. And when Mr. Ma finally performed, it was only a short piece of less than twenty minutes.

My advice is to call the NJPAC before buying tickets and make sure the featured act will be performing the lion’s share of the evening. A better representation of the performance I witnessed last night would have been An Evening with the NJSO including a guest appearance by Yo-Yo Ma. Instead, the characterization of last night’s performance comes perilously close to “bait-and-switch.” Shame on you NJPAC!

Jan. 11 2013 05:31 PM
John from Oakhurst, NJ

Will this be available in the archives at any point?

Jan. 11 2013 04:05 PM
Jim from Passaic

The peg problem actually occurred earlier in the 1st movement (at first I thought that he might have actually broken a string), but he adjusted -- incredibly -- until the before the second movement at which point he corrected the problem. Amazing to watch such professionals adjust without losing their groove.
Re Ravel: Nice to see a percussionist deserve and receive such respect.

Jan. 11 2013 12:11 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

Correction: the peg problem occured between the First and Second Movement, not the Second the Third.

Jan. 11 2013 04:35 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

Prudential Hall, at least from the excellent miking done by WQXR, allows warm bass lines to be heard and doesn't give off stridency in the treble instruments. "Enigma Variations" was carefully and delightfully etched througout, with the "Enigma" theme whether in treble or bass instruments always in the front. I loved the viola solos in "Troyte" and "Dorabella" and the 'cello solo in "Basil G. Nevinson". "Nimrod" is always so heart-meltingly beautiful I won't even write about it lest I sully it. I did love the fermata "G" that almost sounded like time stopping (the enharmonic modulation before "Nimrod" begins ... just marvelous. "Bolero" was at a slower tempo then most readings, but it almost matches Ravel's own recording of the work. The "Concerto for 'Cello and Orchestra" offered First Movement languor, Second Movement playfullness, Third Movement nostalgia and Fourth Movement conviviality. It's a transcendent work, in my opinion. Yo Yo Ma was --- as always --- a sensitive and revelatory protagonist in this performance, dealing quickly with a peg problem preceding the Third Movement. By sheer coincidence, it happened at a fortuitous place in the score: in the bar preceding "Allegro Molto" Second Movement, that has TWO fermatas over it. Maestro Witt and the Orchestra offered committed performances, but I found the brass veiled and not as prominent as my sensibility would have preferred in all three works. This very well may be a minority opinion.

Jan. 11 2013 04:25 AM
Mary Jane Hodge from Melville, L.I.

Cozy on my sofa with my cat, what a performance - and the interviews were top notch. Thanks WQXR one and all!

Jan. 10 2013 09:42 PM
Li Chun Yu

thank you so much for broadcasting this tonight!

Jan. 10 2013 09:37 PM
Marvin Feil from New Jersey

Thank you. I enjoyed this thoroughly. I also appreciated the introduction. It brought to mind another de minimis piece, by Picasso, that is one of my favorites. [It is three lines that clearly depict a woman.]
I come to NJPAC when I can. Again, thank you.

Jan. 10 2013 08:38 PM

Thank you WQXR for the broadcast tonight! Couldn't be there in person, but this was the next best thing! Beautiful rendition.

Jan. 10 2013 08:31 PM
senapiano from NYC

NJSO sounds amazing tonight. And of course, Yo-Yo MA will bring down the house

Jan. 10 2013 08:31 PM
Meghan from New jersy nj

I just stared playing cello and can't wait to here the celloest yeah

Jan. 10 2013 07:34 PM

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