Songs of comfort and hope

Songs of comfort and hope is the title of a new CD being released by Sony. The album offers a welcome musical balm for our spirits in these troubled times. The CD includes beloved familiar songs arranged for cellist Yo Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott.

Ranging from traditional, folk, and American show tunes to world music and classical songs by Bloch, Grieg and Rachmaninoff, the list of gems includes Amazing Grace…Shenandoah, Ol’ Man River Goin’ Home…Jewish Song…Zdes’ khorosho…Moscow Nights…Over the RainbowRain Falling from the RoofSong Without Words…Waltzing MatildaScarborough Fair…Solveig’s SongLes Chemins de l’Amour…Marietta’s LiedThula BabaThe Last Rose of SummerDanny BoyGracias a la VidaWe’ll Meet Again.

As we have come to expect from the duo of YoYoMa and Kathryn Stott, the playing is honestly straightforward and totally devoid of any sentimentalizing, with no condescension towards the humble origins of Scarborough Fair or Danny Boy and with the same respect and musicality given in equal amounts to Jerome Kern and to Felix Mendelssohn.

We were hard put to label this album. It is not strictly classical in its selections, even though the playing is idiomatically that of two concert artists to whom the label crossover would be offensive. Throughout his wide ranging explorations of everything from Bach to Tango, Yo Yo Ma has proven time and again that music is either good or bad regardless of its origins, and all together the music in this gem of a CD is good music.

Rafael de Acha