For something a bit off of the beaten path, try Ma's traversal of the Finzi Cello Concerto on Lyrita LP SRCS 112, with The Royal Philharmonic conducted by Handley. Heartily recommended and a nice respite from the zillionth reading of the Dvorak Cello Concerto.
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Csmithbarc, it would help us offer some suggestions if you would tell us the title and author of the piece of music Yo Yo Ma played that you liked. Then we might be able to direct you to some other that is at least in that same ballpark for you to explore. The repertoire is vast. Also, Ma plays a lot of cross-over. No point in us making recommendations of classical music if what you heard was popular music, jazz, Appalacian, etc.
A strong recommendation for the Mercury Bach Suites for Solo Cello with Janos Starker. I have this in both vinyl and CD, they are nice but the vinyl is breathtaking. I also enjoy "Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone" from Sony. It is a CD of Ennio Morricone movie scores that they both reworked for cello. There are many more but these are among my favorite. I am also a big fan of the cello.
OK, if you liked the Bach Cello Suites, you might also like any of the following collections of works for cello:
Music for a Glass Bead Game - Nathaniel Rosen, cello, and Arturo Delomoni, violin
Orientale - collection of short works for cello - Nathaniel Rosen
Marin Marais: Pièces de Viole du Second Livre - Jordi Savall
Simply Baroque - Yo Yo Ma
I strongly second the Starker version of Bach's Cello Siutes on vinyl. The reissue is fabulous but pricey, don't know if it's on regular CD and don't know if it's good. I would check it out anyway. Although I can hardily recommend the Archiv produktion, "lengedary recordings from Deutche Grammophone Catalog ", re-release of the same work with Pierre Fournier on Cello.
The cello suites you are referring to were not simply 'inspired by Bach' as the album title misleadingly suggests, but were completely written by Bach, front to back. The title refers to a rather poorly cobbled together series of 6 pseudo-artistic documentaries produced for TV Ontario in the early 90's around J. S.'s Suites for cello solo. In spite of the dubious genesis of the recording, Ma's performance is marvellous and well balanced, tending towards the lyrical. For some contrast, try the staggringly dramatic rendition of the prelude and Allemande from Bach's 5th cello suite performed by Mistislav Rostropovich on EMI S 55365 2. If you were interested in hearing the same performed on double bass, give a listen to Edgar Meyer on Sony Classical SK 89183.
I recently discovered a very interesting Yo-Yo Ma recording of classic Argentinian Tangos composed by Astor Piazzola. I'll check the data tonight and will post here ASAP.
If you are not yet familiar with Dvorak's Cello Concerto, you should get this work a try. Ma has a couple of excellent recordings, but so have other cellists. My favorite, for the degree of mature artistry of the performance is perhaps Gregor Piatigorsky's interpretation on an dual layer SACD RCA Living Stereo remaster of a 1957 live event conducted by Charles Munch.
The most emotionally charge concerto for cello and orchestra I know is Elgar's cello concerto. I own both Ma's rendition and Jaqueline Dupree's. Ma is more controlled and Lyrical, Dupree more visceral and truly heart-rending.
Antonio Vivaldi wrote several dozens cello concertos. 28 of them have been recorded by Raphael Walfisch on naxos in 4 volumes. They are true jewels, at less than $7 per volume. See naxos 8.550907, 8.550908, 8.550909, 8.550910.
Highly recommend the Brahms Cello Sonatas with Yo Yo Ma and Emmanuel Ax.
The recording is on RCA. You can also get it through the Music Heritage Society and the BMG Music Club. The recording is from 1985 and has never left the BMG Club catalog in those 21 years. I think there is a remastered version as well.
I have the Mercury Starker Bach Cello Suites on CD. Very nice.
thanks for all the suggestions. I bought one on CD and ordered another recommendation on vinyl. Like I stated at the beginning of this thread....this is my first step into classical music. For some reason I find "simple" one type of instrument(cello, violin, piano) classical recordings very very enjoyable (in truth emotional)....I don't get this same feeling from "orchestra" style recordings. Also, sorry if I am butchering the classical terminology in this post.
Csmithbarc, if you have access to a local library, you might find that it has a selection of classical music CDs available to lend. Given the vast repertoire of classical music, borrowing some recordings from the library might be a good way to test what you may like.
Congratulations on beginning this exploration!
I also like the Starker Cello Suites. Another good recording of the same music is by Paul Tortelier (EMI Classics).
One of my favorite CDs is Les Voix Humaines played by Jordi Savall (AliaVox). He uses two different instruments (Viole de gambe) built in 1550 and 1697.
Most of Yo-Yo Ma's works are very good. Check out his version of The Protecting Veil by Tavener. His Silk Road Journeys When Strangers Meet is interesting with an influence from China and central Asia.
Something you might also consider is Apocalyptica plays Metallica by four Cellos. I'd listen to this first as it is not for everyone.
Try the Beethoven Complete Music for Piano and Cello, Schiff and Perenyi, ECM 1819/20 Wonderful music, recordings, and performances! I like these even better than the Ma/Ax recordings.
Also check out Alban Gerhardt's website. You will be able to hear short excerpts from a variety of works. Gerhardt is in my opinion a phenomenal talent whom I hope will be recorded more frequently. I eagerly await his new recording of various Shostakovich & Schnittke works which releases tomorrow.
Also, Jsujo is on target in drawing your attention to the Viola Da Gamba. It is a wonderful instrument, which was used frequently in Baroque and pre-baroque music. This instrument was used to wonderful effect by Heinrich Schutz in his choral music for those that appreciate such music.
I'd recommend the Haydn Cello concertos. Haydns are easy to enjoy. Yo Yo Ma has recorded them (they are ADD). A terrific recording in my opinion is by cellist Steven Isserlis (DDD). For 'less' instruments you might like the Beethoven works for piano and cello. There are many great recordings.. I've got a few of these and a newer one I like is Alfred Brendel/Adrian Brendel. I also 2nd the Starker Bach. To save money, I like the suggestion of using the library before you buy. Good luck.
I second the recommendation for the Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon OST. Wish it was available on SACD. This is one of my very favorite recordings.
Also check out Appalachia Journey and Appalachia Waltz with Ma, Mark O'Connor and Edgar Meyer. The former is available on SACD (or was 'cause I have it), but not the latter.