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This disc introduces Yo-Yo Ma's latest and most ambitious adventure, the Silk Road Project. It explores the cultures that flourished along the Silk Road, the ancient trade route that for centuries connected Europe and the East. Founded by Ma in 1998, the project aims to create connections, mutual trust, and cultural interchange between people from different parts of the world through their only shared language: music.
This recording includes music from Mongolia, China, Persia, Japan, Iran, Azerbaijan, and an improvisation on an Italian Renaissance street song, performed by musicians from all those countries, as well as America, on both Eastern and Western instruments. Ma, who participates in every piece either as soloist or part of the ensemble, plays cello and a Mongolian "horse-head fiddle." There is also a Mongolian soprano, who sings a traditional song native to her region. For the uninitiated Western listener, the music requires some getting used to. Much of it is based on rhythmic ostinatos. The melodies use Oriental scales; the intonation is untempered; the music seems all color, texture, and atmosphere, without what might be called themes; and repetition takes the place of development. Contrast is achieved through sudden change, buildup by adding instruments. However, the music is often beautiful, delicate, dreamy, or peaceful; every listener will find his or her own favorite pieces. The playing is splendid, with much inventive improvisation. Inevitably, Ma's tone and personality stand out, but he never dominates in fact or spirit. The booklet offers essays by Ma and the project's musicologist, Theodore Levin, photographs of the players, and drawings of the Eastern instruments. --Edith Eisler
|1. Mongolian Traditional longsong|
|2. Legend of Herlen (Byambasuren Sharav)|
|3. "Blue Little Flower" (Chinese Traditional)|
|4. "Mido Mountain" (Chinese Traditional)|
|5. Moon over Guan Mountain (Zhao Jiping)|
|6. "Miero vuotti uutta kuuta" from Five Finnish Folk Songs (Michio Mamiya)|
|7. "Joiku" from Five Finnish Folk Songs (Michio Mamiya)|
|8. Avaz-e Dashti (Persian Traditional)|
|9. Habil-Sayagy (In Habil's Style) for cello and prepared piano (Franghiz Ali-Zadeh)|
|10. Blue as the Turquoise Night of Neyshabur (Kayhan Kalhor)|
|11. Chi passa per'sta strada (Filippo Azzaiolo)|
|12. Desert Capriccio (Music from the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon/Tan Dun) (Bonus Track)|
Musicians from the countries along the old Silk Road, from the Mediterranean to the heartland of China, came together to share musical traditions and create new works. Read morePublished 14 months ago by G. Jackson
While this was not quite what I expected, it grew on me. I now listen to this on the way to work imagining exotic places. It relaxes me and allows me to focus for work.Published 19 months ago by Becky Lutzke
I saw the program on TV and wanted to own this music.
I enjoy all yo yo ma's international music.
Too much like Playlist Without Borders. I cannot tell when one CD ends and the other begins. It means I don't have to look for another CD out of this series.Published 21 months ago by Jean G. Kern
The music on this recording is stunning, but I have a problem with the sound engineering. It's one of those recordings that require constant volume adjustment - which I despise. Read morePublished on January 24, 2012 by Charles P. Gunnels