A few years back, Yo-Yo Ma took the endpin out of his 1712 Stradivarius cello, put a on a new bridge and gut strings, got himself one of those funny baroque bows, and lent the historical performance movement real mainstream credibility. After the success of those "Simply Baroque" recordings, he has teamed up again with conductor Ton Koopman and his Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, this time for a collection of all Vivaldi. What difference does all this monkeying with the instruments mean to the listener? You get your answer in first few seconds of the CD when Ma and fellow cellist Jonathan Manson team up in the Vivaldi's g minor concerto for two cellos; the tone is softer, somehow purer and warmer, evanescent almost, and theRead more articulation is clean and nimble. Even the selection of music for the collection is in the catholic and thrifty spirit of Vivaldi and his contemporaries; in addition to music originally for cello, Koopman and Ma have arranged many Vivaldi favorites for the cello, including opera arias, the "Laudamus Te" duet from the Gloria, even a section of "Winter" from the Four Seasons. Vivaldi's Cello is a splendid collection, Ma's playing is characteristically gorgeous, and the sounds are warm and collegial. A desert island disk for the baroque lover.
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