Top 10 Yo-Yo Ma Albums

Yo-You Ma playing at the 2017 Concordia Annual Summit - Day 1
Riccardo Savi / Getty Images

Yo-Yo Ma boasts an incredibly large library of repertoire, so it can be hard to choose which album you should buy (unless you have the option of buying them all!). Yo-Yo Ma is truly talented across genres; none of his crossover albums have ever failed. This top 10 list of Yo-Yo Ma albums provides a wide field of musical styles from which to choose.

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Classic Yo-Yo

This “best of” Yo-Yo Ma album is amazing, and by amazing, we mean incredible! His superb musicality and talent allow him to cross over into any genre with remarkable ease. If you are just skimming the surface of Yo-Yo Ma's music, we suggest you buy this CD. With songs like the theme from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 1B from "Appalachian Journey," and Libertango from "Soul of Tango" (no. 8 on this list), it’s a perfect entry into the musical world of Yo-Yo Ma.

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Simply Baroque II

If you love the Baroque period, you’ll love this CD. Yo-Yo Ma delivers yet again, a flawless performance of perfectly balanced and playful pieces by Bach and Boccherini. The smooth lines that Yo-Yo Ma plays in songs such as “Hunting Cantata” and “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” are a surefire way to get rid of stress any day.

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Obrigado Brazil

Melt away in the lush Brazilian melodies while sipping a cup of hot cocoa or tea and dream of paradise. Yo-Yo Ma collaborated and performed with other high caliber artists to create this masterful CD. Although Yo-Yo Ma is on the cover, artists such as Rosa Passos and Sergio and Odair Assad take center stage in several songs. It is said that Yo-Yo Ma’s heartfelt musicianship brings out the best in others; this CD holds true to that saying.

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Bach: Six Unaccompanied Cello Suites

No classical music collection is complete without this CD. Yo-Yo Ma brilliantly brings to life the flowing melodies Bach so masterfully created. Our favorite piece and perhaps the most famous is No. 1 in G Major - Prelude; there is only one word to describe it—perfect. It’s Yo-Yo Ma in his purest form.

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Made in America

Unlike the first four albums, this CD shows a different side of Yo-Yo Ma. The pieces by Charles Ives and Leon Kirchner are dissonant and tense. If you are not a fan of that type of music, don’t worry. Also on this album are the very famous Three Preludes for Piano by George Gershwin and two clarinet sonatas by Leonard Bernstein.

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Great Cello Concertos

If you are looking for large classical works, this is the right CD for you. Yo-Yo Ma plays the works of Haydn, Saint-Saëns, Schumann, Dvorak, and Elgar with the English Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre National d'Ile de France, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra respectively. Yo-Yo Ma’s heartfelt performance is breathtaking.

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Brahms: Sonatas for Cello & Piano

Yo-Yo Ma teams up with pianist Emmanuel Ax to create this lovely CD. The album consists of three sonatas, op. 38, op. 99, and op. 108. Both Yo-Yo Ma and Emmanuel Ax work delightfully well together to bring the music of Brahms to life. Their extraordinary talent is apparent throughout the entire CD; there is never a dull moment.

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Soul of Tango - The Music of Astor Piazzolla

Want to take a break from classical music? Yo-Yo Ma does in this unbelievably fun album. The traditional tango music by internationally known, Astor Piazzolla, is a mix of jazz and classical style. The first track, Libertango, is sure to get you dancing no matter where you are; its smooth lines will give you goose-bumps.

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Silk Road Journey: When Strangers Meet

Yo-Yo Ma takes his talent to new heights. He explores and experiments with songs from countries along the ancient silk trade routes—from China to the Middle East to Northern Europe. The perfect blend and balance of each piece is a testament to Yo-Yo Ma’s artistry as well as the artistry of those with whom he collaborated.

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Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone

Yo-Yo Ma and Ennio Morricone join together to recreate the beautiful music Morricone is famous for. He has composed over a hundred film scores, most notably The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in America, and The Untouchables. Whether you are a diehard fan of any of these movies or have never seen them, this CD will not let you down.