Lavish Box Set Retrospective Traces Career Path of Yo-Yo Ma

Article excerpt

Lavish Box Set Retrospective Traces Career Path of Yo-Yo Ma

90-CD anthology includes two discs of rare and previously unreleased material-a completist's dream

AT THE AGE OF 54, YO-YO MA has girdled the globe with a message of peace expressed through the beauty and integrity of his playing. His contributions to world harmony stretch from Sesame Street to international diplomacy. He has played with genuine embrace for US presidents, royalty, and other heads of state. He shares space on President Obama's iPod with Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, and Bob Dylan. In addition to braving freezing weather to play at the Obama inauguration, he played at the requiem service for Sen. Ted Kennedy. If Yo-Yo Ma is not here on some sort of cosmic mission, he must be a pretty nice guy.

From the beginning of his recording career, 30 years ago, Ma possessed a seemingly instinctive, utterly natural, and totally glorious command of the cello. And yet he was always more interested in exploring the emotional core of the music than the surface display. Using bow strokes and speeds in all their infinite variety applied with phrasing of the purest poetry, he delighted fans with his play of light and shadow and his ability to laugh while exhibiting a lover's ear for silence.

Ma quickly became the gold standard.

Now arrives a lavish 90-CD career retrospective of mostly previously released material - just two discs offer unreleased and rare material - accompanied by a 312page hardbound coffee-table book of the complete liner notes, plus an extensive photo gallery, all housed in a velvet-lined, numbered box priced in the high-rent district (list price: $789. …