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Pauline Lerner

Yo-Yo Ma and Davidov

November 16, 2007 at 4:17 AM

I heard a wonderful concert by Yo-Yo Ma on cello and Kathryn Stott on piano. The program consisted of works by Schubert, Shostakovich, Piazzolla (Argentine), Gismonti (Brazilian), and Franck. Someone told me that if they played something from Argentina, they had to play something from Brazil. Yo-Yo Ma was his usual outstanding self and gave a beautiful performance. To me, though, the star of the show was the cello that Ma played. It was the Davidov Strad that Jacqueline du Pre bequeathed to him. The sound of the cello was like none I’ve heard before. It has a distinctive personality. It’s hard to describe in words, but I’ll try. It was very sweet, yet full and robust, and somewhat dark. Oh, forget my descriptive words and accept that it is very beautiful and one of a kind. The musicians played three encores. I didn’t recognize the first; the second was something by Gershwin; and the last was The Swan. I think of The Swan as one of Casal’s signature pieces, but Ma played it in a very moving way. I closed my eyes and cried as he played. It was a unique and very beautiful concert.

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