Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott Recital Hong Kong Cultural Centre It is not often that a classical musician enjoys worldwide popularity like cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Ma, who visits Hong Kong every few years, graced the city again last night for a recital with British pianist Kathryn Stott that did not disappoint. Despite venue acoustics that failed to sufficiently project the cello, the evening was charged with spontaneity, emotive playing and accomplished performances by both players that left the audience transfixed. After the music ended with Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti's yearning and meditative Bodas de Prata & Quatro Cantos, the packed auditorium was so absorbed in Ma's cello that there was a noticeable pause before the performers were rewarded with thunderous applause. Though Ma's romantic style may not suit every composition, most of the recital programme showed him in his best light. Schubert's Arpeggione Sonata was conveyed with both melancholy and joy, while during Piazzolla's La Grand Tango, bar lines seemed to disappear in a whirlwind of passion, though the players remained in control throughout. The cello version of Franck's famous Violin Sonata was eloquently performed with a searing recitativo movement. In Shostakovich's D Minor Sonata, Ma's human warmth was too good to a fault, with the music plunging into wintry desolation, before suddenly exploding like a wild fire. Ma's phenomenal technique, profound musicianship, singing tone and selfless devotion to the ensemble all makes listening to him a wonderful experience.