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Tears, horsehairs were shed. Children, adults went home thrilled. Just another day's work for classical music's consummate professional.
The show started twelve minutes past eight o'clock, but its no wonder that the performance by Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott began a little late. They wouldn't dare allow stragglers entering the full house at UCLA's Royce Hall to miss the simply awe-inspiring sounds that practically made eyes water.
Applauded for his multi-faceted nature as a cellist, Ma represents a musician who is widely traveled, experienced, and creative in his interpretation of musical pieces. His melting crescendos and decrescendos, added with a pleasant piano collaboration with British musician Kathryn Stott, made his performance a moving experience, one that confirmed his role as music aficionado. From Schubert to Piazzolla to Shostakovich, the musical selections were emblematic of Ma's own yearning to reach new audiences with pieces like "Le Grand Tango" by Piazzolla and a Brazilian flare from Gismonti and Carneiro's "Bodas de Prata & Quatro Canto." Ma also remained loyal to his classical music fans with "Sonata in A Major" by 19th century composer César Franck.
But sheet music aside, the real performance was one that was seen and experienced. In his intense concentration, Ma regularly closed his eyes to express how deeply the music affected him and made him feel. At particularly dynamic points in his pieces, Ma would jump inches off from his chair, hair and feet flying for a split second in midair. And, most obvious to viewers was when the horsehair from Ma's bow started to shed. Rather than replace his bow, Ma yanked off the loose hairs with a satisfying aggression, which didn't seem to bother his performance in the slightest.
The momentary pauses between each piece and the seamless transition from one note to the next can be described in one word: mesmerizing. The entire hour and forty minutes could have lasted years. It is the undeniable passion of Ma's performance that, in a sense, could have made time stop. From the rhythmic motions of his hand slicing the body of his cello to the delicate sounds of finger plucking, Ma utilizes every inch of his arms and hands to create a masterpiece of artistic amazement.
Date Posted: 11/30/2007