Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"Even among the experts, few who've heard only his movie scores would guess this music is by John Williams. Only occasionally is there an allusion to his cinematic harmonic progressions or instrumental techniques. Here Williams sets in your mind just the echo of how you expect harmonies to usually go and then ingeniously goes his own way - a clever tactic that produces eloquent music. [Yo Yo] Ma is simply over the top here." - French, ARG
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John Williams is known to most people through his scores for blockbuster films such as JURASSIC PARK, SCHINDLER'S LIST, JAWS, and the STAR WARS series, among others, but he is also a noted composer of concert works as well as a renowned conductor. This set features his compositions for cello, performed here by the inimitable Yo-Yo Ma with the composer himself wielding the baton. The album gets off to a rousing start with the Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, a piece that's vintage Williams: a cinematic blend of majestic themes, brassy fanfares, and dramatic flourishes.
The two other orchestral works on the disc are impressionistic tone poems that demonstrate the variety of Williams's sonic palette--the Elegy for Cello and Orchestra sets plaintive melodies amid lush, swirling pastels, while Heartwood evokes a restless moodiness through dense, dark-hued harmonies. The Three Pieces for Solo Cello are showcases for the instrument that explore the full range of its sonorities, incorporating folk elements and touches of Americana along the way. Ma brings his usual artistic commitment and technical brilliance to the proceedings, dispatching the challenges and demands of the works with his customary aplomb. Williams's crowd-pleasing compositional style and Ma's dazzling artistry make a winning combination.
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