Silk Road Journeys: Beyond the Horizon
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Interview with Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma speaks about his latest adventures involved in this new installment of the ongoing Silk Road Project--an epoch-making collaboration among musical colleagues. Read our special interview to learn more about Ma's musical philosophy.
Top Customer Reviews
Yo-Yo Ma has said that the music on this album crosses boundaries of time and space, revealing the unity among seemingly different traditions... that it evokes the memory of the nomadic peoples who traveled and lived along the Silk Road.
Split into three sections entitled Enchantment, Origins, and New Beginnings, the CD's music blends haunting melodies with disciplined arrangements. Traditional western instruments like the harp, violin and cello commingle with the exotic sounds of the sarangi, sheng, kamancheh, tabla, pipa, dudak, tar and many others. The uninitiated have nothing to fear from such an imposing assortment of instruments, as each is described and pictured with its player in the liner notes.
It comes as no surprise to learn that this music was used as a soundtrack. Like the legendary 1992 recording Pieces of Africa by the renowned Kronos Quartet, Beyond the Horizon is highly evocative of the landscapes and cultures of Asia. The emotional undercurrent that shades this music calls to mind the dramas that Silk Road caravans must have encountered during the early days of global travel.Read more ›
Although I wish that It would contain some Kurdish and Arabic music, the Silk Road Project is a very nice idea that could be one of the means of achieving mutual understanding and respect between the different peoples in that region as well as broadening the horizons of the Western listeners. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
The tracks are ordered into three parts: Enchantments (1-5), Origins (6-9) and New Beginnings. First track is strangely familiar (like it was used in some film, but there is no mention of this). In third track this theme gets Chinese interpretation. The style from one track to the other changes, so you can't get bored or overexcited. Second is simply very nice, the fourth great intro of Armenian wind instrument duduk (played by famous Gevorg Dabaghyan), accompanied by percussion mostly, albeit the piece is short. 5 is gentle with cello and xun (Chinese ocarina), 6 orchestral from slow to cool, 7 again gentle with cello and vocal, 8 starts with yearning duduk and turns into orchestral battle, 9 cello and percussion. Track 10 is the only one with prominent vocal (love song) and introduces us to the last part of CD, which are more like jam sessions of all instruments. 11 and 13 are very lively. The last one, track 15, brings us a new interpretation of very ancient Chinese melody played on pipa.
Some would probably say this CD is commercialized. Personally I don't see any wrongdoings in this as long the music stays a high quality one. For the more authentic Silk Road one can always buy The Silk Road: A Musical Caravan.
Opening with a thrilling chant, the music (fifteen works) incorporates influences form China, India, Turkey, Armenia, and Iran. While some may be hesitant at his superimposing the very Western cello sound on these otherwise authentic tribal lines, careful listening proves that Ma is more interested in paying homage to music unknown to most of the world and demonstrating how this strange music has found its way into the works of Britten, Bartok, Golijov, Gorecki and many other composers. It is a revelation.
The CD should be part of every music library that strives to find the threads that connect the peoples of this globe. It is a fine recital for meditation, for inspiration, and for just fine listening. Grady Harp, October 05
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Yo Yo Ma keeps on opening the heart & the way of the worldPublished 11 months ago by sonia j archer
I was looking for something more soothing, and this wasn't it. More listening time on the order choice would helpPublished on March 17, 2013 by D. Evans
Yo-Yo Ma's silk road journey performance is definitely beautiful. It contains various asian elements such as mysterious. Read morePublished on October 18, 2011 by Jack Lu
I wasn't sure what to expect from this album considering Yo-Yo Ma isn't heavily featured through all the tracks. What I found was an album very unexpected and unique. Read morePublished on September 23, 2011 by S. Ford
Candidly, some of thse tracks are an acquired taste. One track in particular, however, "Distant Green Valley" is magnificent: equal parts meloncholy, serene, calm and beautiful. Read morePublished on February 6, 2010 by D. Kaiser
This is a very innovative CD - better than its predecessor. The Silk Road Ensemble is excellent and the music is very inventive.Published on November 8, 2009 by Peter Kenyon
After seeing YOYO MA and the Silk Road ensemble perform on Live from Lincoln Center, I was looking forward to hearing more. Read morePublished on July 13, 2009 by Michelle B. Porter
First heard about this on NPR. Enjoyed most of the CD. Some of the sounds are a bit primitive for my liking, but relaxing.Published on March 30, 2009 by J. M. Michael