Yo-Yo Ma is one of the most iconic classical musicians of the last 30-plus years.
His recordings of the Bach Cello Suites (made in the early 1980’s, the late 1990’s, and in 2017) have shown an incredible ability to capture the musical essence of Bach, and they also serve as a great example of different artistic interpretations of the same work.
NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series has an episode with Yo-Yo where he talks about the challenges of learning these pieces as a beginner, forensic musicology (what a great term!), and why he’s kept coming back to these Bach Suites for over 50 years!
If you want to read more about Bach and Yo-Yo, and how Yo-Yo’s Bach Cello Suite trilogy ties into a larger discussion about choices – both musical and otherwise – Doug Yeo, former bass trombone in the Boston Symphony and former faculty member at Arizona State University, has written an in-depth blog post about how our choices and our experiences shape not only our lives but also the music we make.
Doug’s article covers a lot of ground. From his Yo-Yo connection (Doug was in the BSO when Yo-Yo recorded Don Quixote in the 1980’s) to pianist Glenn Gould (who recorded Bach’s Goldberg Variations both at the beginning (1955) and end (1981) of his career) to the intertwining of choices and changes.