A collection focusing solely on works from American composers (similar in this to The New York Album, another of Yo-Yo Ma's projects). Leonard Bernstein's first published composition begins the album: the Clarinet Sonata, written soon after his second composition class in 1941. Following is Leon Kirchner's Triptych, written specifically for Ma. Then comes a small portion of what never quite became Gershwin's "melting pot" of styles of American music -- the Three Preludes. Finally, a "reflection of college days" at Yale from Charles Ives, including TSIAJ (this scherzo is a joke), which quotes from possibly 20 other tunes of the day. The highlights on the album are primarily the Gershwin adaptations, due mainly to their liveliness, and perhaps the Ives compositions, due to their general clamoring and smashing -- this one is perhaps more experimental, at the very least. The music on the whole is, as would be expected from a classical master, flawless; the accompaniment is also worthy. For fans of the cello, it could certainly be a worthwhile endeavor. For others, or for those that aren't particularly fans of neo-classical in general, it may not be such a find.
AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg
|Sonata for clarinet & piano|
|Triptych, for violin & cello|
|Preludes (3) for piano|
|Trio, for violin, violoncello & piano, S. 86 (K. 2B17)|