158 of 163 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2004
I had the privilege of seeing Yo Yo Ma in concert here in the U.S. when he was a relative newcomer in the classical world. I was a little girl and I sat in that symphony hall and cried as I watched a man and his instrument become one.
I have not had that sort of emotional response to anything Ma has done since that time, no matter how wonderful and perfect his playing is. That being said, this album made me cry like a baby. In the store. Yes, in public. The level of emotional perfection and purity in Ma's intonality - the gentle caress of each note is simply unmatched. And as other reviewers have already stated, the entire album is consistent.
Yo Yo Ma aside for a moment, I was already fan of some of the pieces on this album before hearing Ma's interpretation. Being familiar with them, I really wondered about their adaptibility to cello performance. What surprised me is that not only does every piece chosen work - but they outdo their original and marvelous construction. Yo Yo Ma has raised the level of Morricone's compositions to heights that a Morricone fan would not have ever believed possible. As a result, you will appreciate both of these artists more for what each has done for the other.
If I could only own one album by Yo Yo Ma, this, folks, would be it.
79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2004
Ennio Morricone's sense of melody is unsurpassed not only in the world of film, but in Art music and Popular music as well. From the mid-1960's on, when Morricone wrote devestating, original scores for Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, Morricone's ability to combine classical melodic lines with grunts, whistles, electric guitars and drums often surpassed the films he scored. His music, unlike most film composer's, adds new layers of meaning onto whatever images flash by.
Yo-Yo Ma's melodic feel matches Morricone's evocative melodies; I would have never imagined the cello being an effective vehicle for a Morricone transcription, but now that I hear Ma playing, I hear how obvious and how perfect the congruence sounds. The richness of Morricone's later scores - Cinema Paradiso - The Mission - The Untouchables surround me with a palpable presence that outlives the echoes of the the film's images.
My personal favorite of Morricone's work has always been "The Good, the Bad, and Ugly," and while Ma only plays one selection, the piece he chose, "The Ecstasy of Gold" makes up for the lack of other music from the film. The tense theme works around a circular four note statement that grows and grows in intensity and speed, eventually accompanied by drums and full orchestra, until Ma's cellos fills the room with urgency, greed, and violence.
I can't recommend this CD too highly for lovers of Ennio Morricone or Yo-Yo Ma.
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
I have to admit I was disappointed with Yo-Yo Ma's last album, "Obrigado Brazil", which uneasily and unwisely mixes his unparalleled cello playing with a wide panorama of somewhat incompatible Brazilian music. Fortunately, this time around, his vast musical curiosity pays off with this beautiful recording, a splendid tribute to the film music of composer Ennio Morricone. Produced by the composer himself, the disc has a langourous, often romantic quality that immediately evokes the films they represent. I heard it as I was browsing at my local Virgin Megastore and immediately knew I wanted to own it.
The most impressive aspect of this album is that it's not a simple replay of the scores but an actual reworking of these familiar themes into new symphonic arrangements which sound as if they were composed specifically for an orchestra featuring a cello soloist. The album offers eight tracks, which combine music from different films by the same director (e.g., Sergio Leone, Brian de Palma) into a series of suites, as well as providing shorter arrangements of individual themes. Most of Morricone's most popular melodies are here, in particular, pieces from "The Mission", "Cinema Paradiso" (almost too briefly represented here) and the main theme from "Malena". It's all quite superb as the recording melds together in a dream-like way. Accompanied ably by the Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra, Ma is in top form throughout, subtly capturing all the rich emotions in each piece. Granted the music does have a certain monotony of tone that makes it ideal for playing in the background, this is nonetheless a virtuoso performance by all concerned. Strongly recommended to anyone who loves film scores rich in aural beauty and visual recollection.
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2004
Cello sound reminds me a human voice. When I hear a cello, I feel something inside my chest. I cannot explain this, but I feel very deeply the cello voice. It's a very emotional experience for me. That's why I love it very much!
Recently, I discovered, that Yo-Yo Ma plays Morricone. I am sure you know the music of the famous Italian composer Ennio Morricone. Now, imagine all his famous titles are re-arranged for cello and orchestra. CD includes the most relaxing themes from such movies as The Mission, Cinema Paradiso, Once Upon a Time in America, The Untouchables and many others.
I recommend this CD to fans of classical crossover, soundtrack lovers and those who just need to relax with an excellent music.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2004
I purchased the CD within the past two weeks and, contrary to a couple of the reviewers (I considered the source!) I found the marriage of Yo Yo Ma's playing of the Morricone scores to be provocative and yet not intrusive. The sensitivity of Yo Yo Ma's interpretation is on a par with the great screen scores of Morricone: the subtle nuances really enhanced the orchestral settings! Yo Yo Ma does not dominate but rather supplies an embroidery to the scores. Being a romanticist who is a composer/performer/conductor/arranger, I find the CD continues to thrill me after more than a dozen hearings. I still discover new and innovative things that compel me to listen again and again. I have recommended this CD to all of my friends/colleagues and associates.
Wilbur E. Funk
Minister of Music Emeritus
Central Lutheran Church
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2004
This is what can happen when you get one of the best musicians in the world playing arrangmements made by the original composer. Morricone's music has always been high on my list but it usually wasn't recorded very well or by the right people; not the case here. The golden tone of the Roma Sinfonietta and Yo Yo Ma's haunting and straining cello bring every little detail from the music. What impressed me the most about this recording is how well the orchestra and soloist exchange and hand off material, playing in unison or counterpoint to each other they sound as one, as if Yo Yo Ma was the principal cello of the orchestra.
Morricone's music is absolutely wonderful, this is one of those cd's you can just put in and let run cause all of the tracks are wonderful. My favorites are the first two tracks, from The Mission, and The Ecstasy of Gold which is probably the best arrangement on the cd. I can't think of anyone that wouldn't love this recording, the music is timeless and the quality of playing can be appreciated by anyone.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2004
I am a classical trained cellist and I really enjoyed this album. I consider it's the best crossover work done by Yo-Yo Ma so far. He's been playing some music in the past few years which I don't care much personally (it's the nature of the music, not his playing), but anyone would rate this album one star is probably tone deaf or knows nothing about cello playing. This is a very consistent album. I couldn't pick out any bad one among the 21 cuts. The melodies are nice (I'm familiar with those movies), the arrangement is superb, but it is Yo-Yo Ma's virtuoso playing brings this album to a whole new level. In many ways, he plays this instrument more like a violin, with many hair-raising weeping stunning high notes which most classical composition couldn't provide for the instrument. And it's amazing that he can play them so effortlessly with absolute precision in dynamics and attack, and with pure tonal quality. One more interesting observation, some passages are very Chinese instrument sounding, even the music is done by an Italian composer.
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2007
I agree with the other reviewers that this contains excellent music, but, if you pick it up in a brick and mortar store and look carefully on the back, you'll see in small print that Sony has helpfully stated "The audio side of this disc does not conform to CD specifications and therefore not all DVD and CD players will play the CD side of this disc." Indeed, my Dell laptop running XP cannot read this CD. Fortunately, My Debian GNU/Linux box could rip the CD, so I will be able to listen to it on my MP3 player.
With Sony, buyer beware. As for Amazon, it's misleading to say this is an "Audio CD" in the product details section. At least Sony had the decency (or advice from their legal department) to not display the CD logo on the box.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2005
Enough others have talked about the music presented on this disc. It's good - very good - and a testament to the musicians presenting it. Plenty more reviews available for the standard version. This review is of the DualDisc.
Dualdiscs are a relatively new piece of technology - a CD on one side, DVD on the other, and offer a number of advantages, as well as a few problems. The CD side does not conform to the "redbook" CD standard, and as such cannot be played on all CD players (this is a side effect of the thickness of the DualDisc). I've seen estimates ranging from 2% to 30% incompatibility, so be aware of this. The CD side seems to be especially problematic in computer DVD drives, so if you're purchasing a DualDisc and intending to rip the material to mp3, try to borrow a disc first to check that it will work correctly. Also, the extra thickness and double sided nature of the discs means you shouldn't use them in slot loading CD players like most car stereos or multi-disc juke boxes. All that said, I haven't had problems playing the CD side of any of my DualDiscs.
The DVD side is the same standard as normal DVDs, and can be played on any DVD player or drive. This offers slightly higher quality stereo playback (although I defy anyone to hear the difference) and often Dolby 5.1 playback, as well as an opportunity for extras.
On this DualDisc, the music is presented with a number of student films which are hardly worth the time to view, and a film of Yo-Yo Ma and Ennio Morricone talking about each other - the sort of gushing that would perhaps better be kept in private. If you do not have and do not expect ever to own a system capable of 5.1 playback, I would not recommend purchasing this DualDisc. But if you have 5.1 playback, it is a revalation. The difference between stereo and 5.1 is like night and day. The sound become more open, immersive, and defined. The rear channels are not overused - most of the time you'll be hard pressed to hear them at all - but take them away and you notice their absense. Sparingly, they are used to provide an aural backdrop such as the use of choir, and each time the effect is stunning. It's hard to put a finger on precisely why the 5.1 mix sounds so much better, but it more alive, involving, and emotive, and very, very worth the premium required to buy the DualDisc version of this album.
DualDiscs are, for the most part, a waste of time if they only contain stereo tracks or if you can't play back in 5.1. If you have a home theater, then buy this disc and enjoy a masterful soundscape and experience.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Sony Classical presents another "film-score-buffs" dream come true "Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone", featuring two of most popular musician and composer on this planet...wonderful concept as two gentlemen completely mesmerize the listening audience ~ remember the music world lost three legendary composers Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith and David Raksin all in a short period of time...so why not bring to the forefront Ennio Morricone with some of his greatest and memorable suites and film themes.
Celebrate the career of indelible musical impressions courtesy of the most renowned film score composer of our time Ennio Morricone [conductor], Yo-Yo Ma [cello], Gilda Butta [piano] and Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra...each cue released into six film and director categories by "The Mission", "Giusppe Tornatore Suite", "Sergio Leone Suite", "Brian De Palma Suite", "Moses and Marco Polo Suite" and "The Lady Caliph"...Maestro Morricone creates visual moods for each film he scores, Yo-Yo Ma taps into each track with brilliant performances that will leave you spellbound.
Ennio Morricone was born in Rome on October 11, 1928...attended the Santa Cecilia Conservatory...worked in various jazz bands, later a staff arranger and composer...an orchestrator in the '50s...scored films in the early '60s, then the WESTERNS and his name became a household word in the film industry...all in all Yo-Yo Ma has done magnificent job in bringing the music of a composer who wrote for over 250 films, receiving recognition from the industry and fans which was long over-due ~ his work is in constant demand, scoring a half dozen films as year...well worth a five star rating review!
This collection contains an overlay of each cue in Morricone's distinctive style of legendary scoring ~ Yo-Yo Ma made this possible with the blessing of Sony Classical...enriched and fullfilling for all the "film-score-buffs", but still craving more of the same, just the way we like 'em!
Total Time: 55:49 on 19 Tracks ~ Sony 93456 ~ (9/28/2004)