Yo Yo Ma’s Goat Rodeo Show at Tanglewood
August 15, 2013 performance; by Dave Read
If Tanglewood were simply Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, its Tanglewood Music Center and eight or nine weeks of classical music performed by the BSO and their various guest soloists and conductors, we Berkshires locals would have plenty to be grateful for. But it is so much more, for so many reasons, not least of which is that Yo Yo Ma claims it as a sort of home for his seemingly boundless musical explorations. Incidentally, he also has an actual home in the Berkshires. (Goat Rodeo Show at Tanglewood photo: Hilary Scott).
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His latest musical trip led to the Goat Rodeo Sessions, the 2011 album he recorded with bsssist Edgar Meyer, fiddler Stuart Duncan, and mandolinist Chris Thile, which won Grammys for Best Folk and Best Engineered non-classical. Both the album and tonight’s show featured singer Aoife O’Donovan, of Crooked Still and Sometymes Why. She reprised No One But You, Here and Heaven, from the album and added a stunning rendition of Bob Dylan’s Farewell, Angelina.
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Everybody but Mr. Ma took turns on other instruments; Meyer played piano on Franz and the Eagle, and No One But You; Thile, whose singing blended nicely with Ms. O’Donovan’s, also played fiddle and guitar; Duncan also played banjo. Except that Ma seemed to indicate that Meyer is musical director, the impression from the audience is that these are four musicians equally expert in their own domains and equally excited to be making music with peers, just for the fun of it.
more Yo Yo Ma projects at Tanglewood
Last summer, Yo Yo Ma and The Silk Road Project gave a concert in Ozawa Hall, where he debuted the project in 2000; it was formed in 1998 to connect the world’s neighborhoods by bringing together artists and audiences around the globe, paying specific attention to the cultural traditions of the historical Silk Road. A Playlist Without Borders
, The Silk Road Ensemble’s new CD will be released September 24, 2013 along with the concert DVD Live from Tanglewood. This video preview captures the essence of these recordings, made to celebrate the Silk Road Project’s fifteenth anniversary.
In 2004, Yo Yo Ma was featured soloist for another musical exploration, this one composed by Tan Dun, The Map, Concerto for Cello, Video, and Orchestra. The year before, we were treated to an amazing South American journey, including time along the Amazon!. That trip was called, simply, Yo Yo Ma’s Brazil, and featured more than a dozen virtuoso musicians, including the irrepressible Paquito D’Rivera.