There are occasions where certain musical compositions become associated with certain performers. The reason, of course, is that the public senses a particular emotional expression in the performance of a particular work which the listener cherishes.
The Elgar Cello concerto is one such work. Early in its history, the concerto was made famous by the legendary British Cellist, Jacqueline DuPre. Then later, after Ms. DuPre’s tragic death, I personally have loved the performance by Yo Yo Ma.
My sense is that Mr. Ma originally recorded this masterpiece in 1989 or 1990, and I don’t believe that we have a newer recording, although there are many occasions where a video of Mr. Ma doing this work at an occasion such as the season opening at Carnegie Hall comes to mind.
What an amazing musical composition this is: full of melodic grandeur, emotional expression, tender sections, and opportunities for an orchestra and soloist to shine.
In the following video we have Yo-Yo Ma with Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in this performance from 1997. Mr. Ma gives a performance that is beyond breathtaking. It is also fitting that Barenboim is the conductor; he was married to Jacqueline DuPre during the years when she championed this masterpiece by Edward Elgar.