Songs from the Arc of Life

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Songs from the Arc of Life
Yo-Yo Ma (cello) Kathryn Stott (piano)

[ Sony Classics / CD ]

Release Date: Monday 20 March 2017

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Longtime friends, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott, create a unique classical music experience with their new recording, Songs from the Arc of Life. The album includes pieces they have frequently performed but never recorded, as well as a handful of discoveries. Songs from the Arc of Life begins and ends with two, much-beloved settings of the traditional "Ave Maria," opening with the soaring, radiant Bach/Gounod arrangement and closing with Schubert's more serene, contemplative version. In between is a remarkable spectrum of music that includes such enduring favorites as Brahms' "Lullaby," Dvorák's "Songs My Mother Taught Me," Elgar's "Salut d'amour," Gade's "Jalousie" and Saint-Saëns' "The Swan," as well as richly evocative works by Debussy, Delius, Fauré, Gershwin, Grieg, Kriesler, Messaien, Schumann, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky. Ma and Stott also include a haunting piece by the contemporary composer Giovanni Sollima, a friend and colleague of both artists.

"Ma's sound in this album has a rather lived-in quality, golden allure replaced by gritty articulacy. Physical exertion and goal-driven intensity give way to nonchalant calm. This works in a beautifully sustained 'Louange a l'eternite de Jesus' from Messiaen's famous quartet." BBC Music

"Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott take us on a musical journey through life that also celebrates their 30-year musical friendship…[by the end] you realise that the title of the disc is utterly apt: this is a meditation on life, not a bag of musical pick'n'mix…the recording is wonderfully immediate, as is the conversation between the artists in the booklet." Gramophone

"This is warm, engaged, vital music making by two of the finest musicians around." the Guardian


1. Bach/Gounod: Ave Maria
2. Brahms: Lullaby (Wiegenlied, Op. 49, No. 4)
3. Dvorak: Songs My Mother Taught Me (from "Gypsy Songs", Op. 55, No. 4)
4. Faure: Papillon, Op. 77
5. Gade: Tango Jalousie
6. Schumann: I. Vanitas vanitatum (from "Five Pieces in the Popular Style", Op. 102)
7. Sibelius: Was it a Dream?, Op. 37, No. 4
8. Faure: Après un rêve, Op. 7, No. 1
9. Elgar: Salut d'Amour, Op. 12
10. Gershwin: Prelude No. 1 (from "Three Preludes")
11. Delius: Romance for Cello and Piano
12. Kreisler: La Gitana
13. Sollima: Il bell'Antonio, Tema III
14. Saint-Saens: The Swan (from "Carnival of the Animals")
15. Grieg: The Wounded Heart, Op. 34, No. 1 (from "Elegiac Melodies")
16. Tchaikovsky: Valse Sentimentale, Op. 51, No. 6
17. Messiaen: Louange à l'Éternité de Jésus (from "Quartet for the End of Time")
18. Debussy: Beau Soir
19. Schubert: Ave Maria, Op. 52, No. 6 (Ellens Gesang III from "Ein Fräulein vom See")

Watch the making of the album via Youtube