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Yo-Yo Ma: Songs From The Arc of Life


Airs Friday, November 27 at 1 p.m. When it comes to artistic partnerships, there's a lot to be said for the fireworks of musicians joining together for the first time. But there's another kind of collaboration that can yield profound pleasure: a recording with two artists who know each other deeply, in a relationship that has unfolded over years or even decades.

That's the case with world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott, who have been playing together since 1984. Over those many years, they've developed a wonderfully warm and mutually responsive musical partnership that has blossomed in performances that are both generous and incisive.

On Songs From The Arc Of Life Ma and Stott attempt to sketch out the emotional trajectories of a lifetime. Each track is meant to reflect a signpost of a life well lived, from the fleeting pleasures of childhood through the stormy depths of youthful passion to the power of enduring unspeakable trauma.

Songs From The Arc Of Life is full of such familiar treasures as the Brahms Lullaby, Saint-Saëns' The Swan and both the Bach/Gounod and the Schubert Ave Maria. But this album also includes some more unusual finds — including selections new to Ma and Stott — like Debussy's bittersweet Beau Soir, as well as a section of contemporary Italian composer and cellist Giovanni Sollima's score to the recent film The Handsome Antonio (a remake of the 1960 classic starring Marcello Mastroianni) that's a perfect sonic distillation of loneliness.