By Dave Read (August 14, 2022 concert) – Yo-yo Ma performed Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Christian Macelaru, before an avid crowd at Tanglewood, on yet another beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon.
Paris-born Ma has lived in the Berkshires for decades and enjoys an association with Tanglewood that rivals Leonard Bernstein’s, whose career opened and closed there. Ma’s musical world eclipses Bernstein’s, however, because it is related to the instrument and not to the genre of music; the cello has taken him far away from the classical cloister, into the barn of Bluegrass and the yurts along the ancient Silk Road.
… multitude of moods and fancies
Mr. Ma, with only the cello’s four strings to manipulate, turned Elgar’s score into a multitude of moods and fancies, as if to portray the complications and contradictions of life. Who knows if we’ve returned to the depths of despair that surrounded the Englishman Elgar as the “great” war wound down, but Ma chose for an encore a piece composed during the ensuing “great” depression. Charlie Chaplin composed Smile for his “silent” film Modern Times; such movies had soundtracks, but actors spoke no lines. The lyrics, added by others twenty years later, were recited in advance by Ma.
Even with the drenching shower last week while the BSO performed Holst’s The Planets, the 2022 Tanglewood season is bound for the fair weather file – even during the apex of the late July heat wave, there has been a spirited breeze blowing through the vast campus during every matinee concert.