New Impossibilities

Artist: Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Conductor: Miguel Harth-Bedoya
Label: Sony Classical
Additional Artists:

Silk Road Ensemble
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Wu Man


This latest addition to Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road project is a thrill a minute. The most “famous” composer represented here is Osvaldo Golijov, whose “Night of the Flying Horses” fascinates with its sampling of “Je crois entendre encore” from Bizet’s Pearl Fishers, while a high violin line and mournful cello alternate above it; the piece goes wild about two-thirds of the way through in the section called, appropriately, “Gallop.” The other composers all offer equally fascinating pieces as well: the thrilling rhythms of Rabih Abou-Khalil’s “Arabian Waltz”; Zhou Long’s “Song of the Eight Unruly Poets” (what a title!), with its high-pitched strings (members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra take part in many of the works); the cinematic battle music of “Ambush from Ten Sides,” featuring the twangy, acidic tones of the pipa, which ends in a true conflagration of violence, complete with shouting; and “Vocussion,” a brief, cool piece with scat singing and boom-boxing. There’s more — much more — in this portrait of world music, and it’s all wonderful. –Robert Levine

Genre: Orchestral/Choral