A globally sourced music video marks the start of a new chapter in Yo-Yo Ma’s Bach Project, a two-year journey that began with his latest recording of the Bach cello suites, Six Evolutions. The new video, which incorporates footage contributed in response to the prompt, “Show the world how you express yourself and what brings your community together.” is another step towards answering the question posed by the Bach Project: how does culture connect us, and help us to imagine and build a better future? To accompany the premiere, Yo-Yo has curated a playlist of Bach recordings that offers a glimpse of how Bach speaks to our shared humanity across the centuries. “The playlist begins and ends with the final aria from Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations, in two versions – one from his first recording of the work and one from his last, created nearly 30 years apart,” says Yo-Yo. “You hear the same theme played differently, marking a beginning and an end; to hear Gould’s recordings is to glimpse the arc of a life lived. People often ask me what it has meant to perform and record Bach’s suites over nearly 60 years, how my relationship with this music has evolved and why Bach’s music remains resonant today, not just for me, but for all of us. In selecting these tracks, I’ve attempted to begin to sketch an answer in a similar arc. I’m sharing not only recordings of Bach’s music that have been part of my life as a listener and performer, but also unexpected interpretations of Bach that suggest how his music speaks to our shared humanity. If you can, listen to the playlist in order. Listen for the dances that move effortlessly between France, Cuba, and Germany; for the music voiced on instruments that Bach knew so well, and those he never knew; the architectural perfection of the solo violin in the D Minor Partita; the inexorable movement of the bass line in St. John’s Passion; and the aching beauty of Pablo Casals’ Sarabande, from the 1939 recording that I grew up with.”

Watch the video.

Hear Yo-Yo’s Bach playlist.