Summertime with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road at Blossom Music Center


(c) Roger Mastroianni

Cristina Pato and Kojiro Umezaki "duel" with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble at Blossom Music Center, summer home of The Cleveland Orchestra..


I’ve just got to say that if I’d been wearing socks they would have been knocked off by the concert offered by Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble last month.An overflow [crossover] crowd filled the Blossom Music Center pavilion and the lawn that Saturday night to listen to new works as well as traditional Persian and Chinese music.The ensemble’s interactions with each other and with the audience kept alive a keen awareness of the sense of drama inherent in music’s power to summon and spark the imagination.Scottish bagpipes, with their somber calls to battle and bravery, I’ve heard before, but the Galician bagpipes sound from another world entirely, at least as played by Cristina Pato alone and with Kojiro Umezaki and Sandeep Das.And, after a full program of works new and ancient the evening continued to be enchanting with several encores (of more works I didn’t know). 
Yo-Yo Ma played as “just one of the gang,” and so those who came to hear his masterful solo work might have felt disappointed. But it was far from disappointing to most of the cheering crowd who couldn’t get enough. It would be wonderful to travel that Silk Road again next summer. Here’s hoping.