Special concert with
Yo-Yo Ma, Cello

Venue: Orpheum Theatre
Date: 17 May 2004 8.00pm

Reviewer: Lois Carter




Dvorak Carnival Overture Op 92
Haydn Cello Concerto in C Major
Dvorak Cello Concerto in B minor Op 104

Conductor: Bramwell Tovey

What does Yo Yo Ma have musically in common with Mick Jagger?.

At one time I would have said absolutely nothing. For a start Mick Jagger sings “I can’t get no satisfaction” and Yo Yo Ma exudes joy and contentment from the moment he walks onto the stage. Monday night was no exception at the packed Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver.

Dvorak’s Carnival Overture under the direction of Bramwell Tovey, provided an exciting prelude by the VSO for the two cello concertos that followed.

It was inspiring to hear the world’s most famous contemporary cellist Yo Yo Ma demonstrate profound musical insights into the virtuosity of Haydn’s writing . Ma’s playing was technically flawless, full of joy and he was totally at ease with the work as a whole. His ability to join in with the cello section for the parts in between his solos revealed a master who is able to connect with the orchestra and identify himself with the work as a whole. The VSO orchestra obviously enjoyed accompanying him and he was having the time of his life on stage.

The Dvorak cello concerto in B minor described by Russian cellist Rostropovich as the ‘King’ of all concertos written for the cello, is extremely demanding for even the most accomplished player.




Ma’s concentration and his knowledge of the score made for an unforgettable interpretation of Dvorak’s immense musical landscape. The quality of the tone he produced in the slow movement expounded his depth. His impeccable sense of spontaneity and timing without departing from the composers integrity, reveals the true genius of Yo Yo Ma.

So what does this have to do with Mick Jagger?

Well, during a recent world tour, Mick Jagger was asked the secret to the success of his career. He responded by saying that for every concert, he has to be consciously at one with the rest of the band and completely connected with the audience throughout the show. Tonight, Yo Yo Ma was consciously at one with the Conductor and Orchestra and completely connected with the audience. Perhaps there are some who take offence at such an accomplished classical musician being paralleled with the world of Rock ‘n Roll but maybe the small minded technical perfection that so often characterises classical musicians would start to be liberated by more players who go out and have the time of their life on stage. Tonight we shared in the secret of real success.

2004, Lois Carter