Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott create a unique classical music experience with their new Sony Classical recording Songs from the Arc of Life available September 18, 2015. This all-new recording also celebrates thirty years of friendship and collaboration in concerts and recordings for Ma and Stott. The album includes pieces they have frequently performed but never recorded, as well as a handful of discoveries.
“I like to think of Songs from the Arc of Life as an invitation to our audience to remember and imagine what the soundtracks of their lives might be,” Yo-Yo Ma says. “Kathy and I have talked for years about recording an album of music we absolutely love, pieces that express the context of a life, of our lives. Childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, old age: what do they sound like?”
“I love this title,” Stott says, “the ‘Arc of Life’ – because it is one big arc. Once we arrived at the idea, we began to see a beautiful story, a journey through life’s experiences. It has taken us a long time and much discussion, back and forth, to discover what that journey might be, because everyone’s journey is slightly different.”
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,” Dvorak’s “Songs My Mother Taught Me,” Elgar’s “Salut d’amour,” Gade’s “Jalousie” and Saint-Saens’ “The Swan,” as well as richly evocative works by Debussy, Delius, Faure, 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.
In addition to beginning his fourth decade of collaboration with Stott, Yo-Yo Ma is celebrating a milestone birthday this year. “Turning sixty has me wondering what the future might bring, but also reflecting on what has passed,” Ma says. “Kathy and I have known one another since we were in our twenties. We have a shared performing history and thousands of conversations and experiences and we’re delighted, through Songs from the Arc of Life, to share them with you.”
Sony Music Masterworks comprises Masterworks, Sony Classical, OKeh, Portrait, Masterworks Broadway and Flying Buddha imprints. For email updates and information please visit www.sonymusicmasterworks.com.
1. Bach/Gounod: Ave Maria
2. Brahms: Lullaby
3. Dvorak: Songs My Mother Taught Me
4. Faure: Papillon
5. Gade: Tango Jalousie
6. Schumann: I. Vanitas vanitatum (from Five Pieces in the Popular Style)
7. Sibelius: Was It a Dream?
8. Faure: Apres un reve
9. Elgar: Salut d’amour
10. Gershwin: Prelude No. 1
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 (from Elegiac Melodies)
16. Tchaikovsky: Valse sentimentale, Op. 51, No. 6
17. Messiaen: Louange a l’eternite de Jesus (from Quartet for the End of Time)
18. Debussy: Beau Soir
19. Schubert: Ave Maria
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Kathryn Stott, piano