Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma Plays Great Cello Masterworks

(CD - Sony Classical #88765438572)

Review by

Yo-Yo Ma Plays Cello Masterworks is an eight-CD box set of previously released material recorded in the 1980s and 1990s, and presumably so familiar to his fans that the package doesn't even come with a booklet. It really is a no-frills affair, right down to the thin cardboard sleeves that repeat the same photograph on the box, instead of offering original cover art. But the greatest disappointment is that only three of J.S. Bach's Six Cello Suites were included, so listeners seeking them should forego this budget package and find the complete suites, which Ma recorded twice. Ma's popular albums of virtuoso works for cello and orchestra by Vivaldi, Boccherini, Haydn, Schumann, Dvorák, Saint-Saëns, Lalo, Walton, Elgar, Shostakovich, and Tchaikovsky reappear here, in different configurations to maximize space, and the set is rounded out with recordings with pianist Emanuel Ax of chamber works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann. A reasonable sampling of this cellist's classical output is represented, though anyone who already owns some of his recordings should check for duplication.

blue highlight denotes track pick