Yo-Yo Ma doesn't mess around. In addition to being one of the most recognized classical musicians of the contemporary age, he is fiercely dedicated to expanding the vocabulary of dominant musical forms. A large part of his project, as heard on SILK ROAD JOURNEYS: BEYOND THE HORIZON, is to fuse the meticulous arrangements and intellectual rigor of Western classical music with the traditional music of other cultures. BEYOND THE HORIZON was recorded as a soundtrack to a television series about the Silk Road (an ancient trade route that extended from East Asia, through the Middle East, and into Europe) and encompasses the sounds of the cultures that route bridged.
The music here is drawn from original compositions by Asian composers, and the instrumentation includes dudak, sheng, tablas, kamancheh, and other Asian instruments (the CD's booklet includes detailed explanations of each) alongside Western instruments like the harp, violin, and cello. The combination, executed here with stunning taste and balance by Ma and company, results in evocative music that is sometimes lyrical and haunting, sometimes rhythmic and based in folk forms. This exciting hybrid experiment crosses boundaries of culture, music, time, and tradition to achieve something quite beautiful.