Monday, December 9, 2013

On seeing Yo-Yo Ma

Last night, a small group of us went to the North Carolina Symphony, an unusual outing for me.  We were there to see the guest performer, world-famous cellist, Yo-Yo Ma.  The tickets were quite expensive, and the event was the night after the PT Seasonal Celebration, so I had initially been a little hesitant to go.  As little as I know about classical music and its scene, however, even I had heard of Yo-Yo Ma.

So, into the drizzling, 34-degree weather we went. 

I am so very glad we did.

The music was delightful.  Though, as I noted, I know next to nothing about classical music, I still enjoy it on the rare occasions when I listen to it.  Tonight's performance began with a Mozart piece, the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro.  A bit gaudy and definitely emotional, it was right up my alley, so I quite enjoyed it. 

The next two selections, a Haydn and a Brahms, were lovely, though I am positive I missed much of their meaning.

Yo-Yo Ma then appeared.  The orchestra launched into Concerto in A minor for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 129.  It was very pretty...and then he began to play.  The hall filled with such sweet, wonderful sounds that I was amazed.  Watching him play, seeing how much passion he brought to the performance, and listening to his music was enchanting. 

Afterward, he was gracious and constantly including the conductor and the rest of the orchestra in the ovation that the standing audience was very clearly directing at him.  After a great deal of applause, he sat again and explained that what followed was as close to a Christmas song as he could think of right then.  I don't know what he played, but it was wonderful.

At every point, he came across as joyful, in love with the music and performing, and so gracious, humble, and self-effacing that you could not help but instantly like him. 

If you get a chance to see him perform, do not pass it up.

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