Special Episode: Yo-Yo Ma

“Prelude, Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, by J.S. Bach”

Yo-Yo Ma is perhaps the most famous and well-loved cellist in the world. He was born in Paris in 1955; his family moved to the US when he was 7. He played for President Kennedy that year. He played at Carnegie Hall for the first time when he was 16. He’s won 18 Grammys and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And for this special episode of Song Exploder, the last episode of this year, Yo-Yo Ma’s is going to break down this piece—which he didn’t create, but he’s performed so many times. It’s the Prelude from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suite Number 1 in G Major. It’s one of the most famous pieces of music written for the cello. Yo-Yo Ma first recorded the Bach Cello Suites in 1983, at age 27. He recorded them again in 1998. Now, at age 62, he’s recorded them for what he says may be the last time. It’s for an album called Six Evolutions: Bach Cello Suites. Yo-Yo Ma talked to me about what’s changed about the way he approaches this piece of music.

Thanks to author Eric Siblin for providing historical context around the Cello Suites. Check out his book The Cello Suites: J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece.

You can buy or stream Yo-Yo Ma’s 2018 recording of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major: Prelude here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Yo Yo Ma’s 1983 recording of Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major: Prelude.
Pablo Casals – Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: I. Prelude. Moderato
Yehudi Menuhin – Sonata for Violin Solo No. 1 in G Minor, BMV 1001: II. Fuga

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Episode 150: Fleetwood Mac

“Go Your Own Way”

 

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Lindsey Buckingham is a singer-songwriter, a guitarist, and a producer. In 1974, he joined the band Fleetwood Mac, along with Stevie Nicks, his girlfriend at the time. A few year later, in 1977, Fleetwood Mac released the album Rumours, which would go on to sell over 40 million copies and become the eighth highest-selling album in history. In this episode, Lindsey Buckingham breaks down “Go Your Own Way,” a song he wrote for that album about his relationship with Stevie Nicks.

Buy or stream “Go Your Own Way” here. And click here to buy Lindsey Buckingham’s new solo anthology.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Sound City Studios
Sausalito, California
“Street Fighting Man” – The Rolling Stones
B. Mitchel Reed – Radio DJ

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Bonus Episode: Reply All

Breakmaster Cylinder – Reply All Theme

 

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Four years ago, on November 24, 2014, the first episode of the podcast Reply All came out. It’s a podcast about the internet hosted by Alex Goldman and PJ Vogt. And since then, they’ve put out 131 episodes. The show has gotten over 100 million downloads so far. Robert Downey Jr. is going to star in a movie based on one of their episodes. And from the debut, it’s been one of my favorite podcasts. A while back, in 2015, I did a special edition of Song Exploder for Reply All, about their theme song by Breakmaster Cylinder. I’d hear the guys talk about “the mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder” in the show’s credits, but I didn’t really know who or what that was. And I wanted to find out more. So in honor of the four year anniversary of Reply All’s launch, I’m putting out this special crossover episode for the first time here on Song Exploder.

Buy or stream Breakmaster Cylinder’s Reply All theme here.

Illustration by Carlos Lerma.

footnotes
Breakmaster Cylinder on Bandcamp
PJ Vogt on Twitter
Alex Goldman on Twitter

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