by Daniel Hathaway
Not only did international superstar cellist Yo-Yo Ma sell out Finney Chapel for his appearance on the Oberlin Artist Recital Series Wednesday evening, he packed them into Warner Concert Hall as well, where an overflow crowd witnessed his masterful recital via simulcast.
Ma, who last appeared at Oberlin before its current students were born*, put together an unusual but engaging program that reflected some of his wide-ranging musical tastes. He also managed to serve up dessert before the main course — who doesn’t like that to happen once in a while — and only one item on his playlist was originally written for the cello. I heard the recital in Finney Chapel.
Saving two substantial works for the second half, Ma and his superb, longtime and apparently clairvoyant collaborator, pianist Kathryn Stott, launched the evening with delightful readings of Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne, then a made-up suite of pieces by Villa-Lobos (Alma Brasileira), Piazzolla (Oblivion) and Camargo Guarnieri (Dansa Negra) arranged by Jorge Calandrelli (Villa-Lobos and Guarnieri) and Kyoko Yamamoto (Piazzolla), and finally, Manuel de Falla’s 7 Canciones Populares Españolas. [Read more…]