Yo-Yo Ma: 30 Years Outside the Box

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Late last year, in honor of Yo-Yo Ma's 30th anniversary on Sony, the label re-mastered every single album the renowned cellist has recorded and packaged them in a velvet-lined box that includes 90 CDs and a 312-page hardbound book of photos, essays and liner notes. Yo-Yo Ma: 30 Years Outside the Box is this week’s Full Rotation.

From a purely packaging standpoint, the set is a marvel--a lavish repudiation of the death of the physical CD. And aside from all of the collectable goodies, there's the music. In recent years, Ma's recording priorities have shifted largely to film soundtracks, folk and world music. This set goes back to his classic recordings of concertos by Haydn, Beethoven and Schumann; Elgar, Saint-Saëns, and Dvorak.

There's also oodles of chamber music by Brahms, Mozart, Schumann and other composers. Not only do the Bach Cello Suites turn up but so do the composer’s many sonatas for viola da gamba and keyboard. There are numerous other gems including transcriptions of Fritz Kreisler’s bonbons for violin, the dazzling caprices of Paganini and some gorgeous takes on Japanese folk tunes. Two bonus discs include, among other things, John Williams' Air and Simple Gifts, written for the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Given the economic downturn and the demise of record stores, this may be a questionable time to be releasing a boxed set. Still, Ma is one of the few living classical artists whose career justifies a set of this magnitude. If cost is not a consideration, go for it.

Yo-Yo Ma: 30 Years Outside the Box [Box Set]


Available at Arkivmusic.com

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Comments [3]

Guy Aron from Melbourne, Australia

According to the works listed on Arkiv, this box does not contain Ma's well-regarded recording of the Finzi concerto with Vernon Handley. I wonder what the reason for this omission was, and whether the set can be regarded as complete.

May. 26 2010 12:18 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane from Lake Hiawatha, NJ

Surely Yo-Yo Ma's "30 years outside the box" CD set celebrating his long-time recording activitiy with SONY, including 2 extra CDs beyond the 90 originally advertised is the greatest trove of work of any artist outside of the famous versions in CDs by five different companies of the Complete Caruso recordings. Two top of their "fach" performers deservedly completely available on CDs!! Both were, in a sense, cross-over performers, performing musical selections contemporary with their careers as well as performing practically all the appropriate music for their "instrument."

May. 25 2010 10:29 AM
Marie Gorey from Manhattan

I wake up and go to sleep with your radio station. I have raised my son from cradle to College with your classical radio for 20 years. I cannot imagine my day without Mitch. Her voice so soothing ...and your selection of classical music so appreciated especilay at work and study. I have never written a college paper without Bethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Checkovsky, Wagner, and all the others we love all have a passion for. Thank you for your dedicated work. Please continue the beauty of the art of music & Thaks- Marie

May. 25 2010 09:30 AM

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The Albums of the Week are compelling new recordings that we spotlight every week. These include creative repertoire choices, engaging musical personalities and artistic statements that stand out from the pack. You can hear the Albums of the Week throughout the day and evening on WQXR.