Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

August 7, 2008

Yo-Yo Ma Concert

Tanglewood, Lenox
August 3, 3008
by Debra Tinkham

The traffic from exit 2 west was bumper-to-bumper on this breezy, Sunday afternoon. It was a slow crawl all the way to Lenox, Tanglewood parking lots were filled to capacity, and “park where you can” instructions came from the valet attendants. Why? Yo-Yo Ma!

The program, unfortunately, started on time, because many admirers of Ma were late. Fortunately for viewers/listeners, Ma’s performance was second on the program, so not one note was missed. It’s uncanny how faithful Ma’s followers are, yet, he seems to continually give his all, knowing how pleased his audience is going to be.

It was, needless to say, an incredible afternoon, with music by composers Isaac Albeniz, Edouard Lalo and Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873 – 1943), but Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D minor most definitely was a show stealer. Special in many ways because Ma was performing this piece for the premiere performance at Tanglewood, and Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor, was also making his Boston Symphony Orchestra’s debut. This young conductor had an immediate rapport with his players, then add Ma to the mix and you are “simply having a wonderful music time.”

The entire program consisted of Albeniz’s Suite from Iberia; Lalo’s Cello Concerto in D minor and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, Opus 45. The Symphonic’s first Boston Symphony Orchestra’s performance was 1974, with the illustrious Seijji Ozawa conducting, and the first Tanglewood performance was not until 1991. This Rachmaninoff piece is one of his easier works to follow - melodically. Each movement flowed purely and with ease – not often a trademark of Rachmaninoff. To the untrained ear, it might even be misconstrued as “easy listening.” All in all, another magical day in the Berkshires.