Yo-Yo Ma

YO-YO MA….This is way off the beaten path, but take a look at Mark Swed’s lead in his review of Yo-Yo Ma’s performance in Los Angeles on Friday:

Yo-Yo Ma is the world’s most popular cellist. That is not to say that he is the world’s finest cellist. The Finnish virtuoso Anssi Karttunen, for one, can more effectively make Elliott Carter’s Cello Concerto sound like music than can Ma, although it was written for him. Others play bluegrass, tangos and Kyrgyz traditional music more authentically than he.

I don’t know much about classical music, and I know even less about Ma. I certainly don’t have an opinion about whether he’s the finest cellist in the world or not.

But what on earth was the meaning of that paragraph? A Finnish cellist plays one particular piece better than Ma? There are other cellists better versed in Kyrgyz traditional music (!) than Ma? WTF?

Can somebody knowledgable help me out here? What am I supposed to take away from this?

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