Yo-Yo Ma performs during the Armistice ceremony in Paris: ‘We live in a time that feels fractured – Bach is unifying’

12 November 2018, 15:13 | Updated: 16 November 2018, 10:23

By Kyle Macdonald

The cellist played the Sarabande from Bach's Cello Suite No. 5 to world leaders on Sunday – a piece he feels is full of hope, as he recently told Classic FM

On Sunday, world leaders gathered at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris to mark the centenary of the World War One Armistice.

As part of the commemorations, American cellist Yo-Yo Ma played the Sarabande from Bach's Cello Suite No. 5 to the dignitaries.

In September, Yo-Yo Ma met with Classic FM's Catherine Bott and told her that this movement was one of his favourite pieces of music: “I gave it a title: You're struggling for hope, you're down and out, but there's something there that's worth keeping”.

“We live in a time where many things feel kind of fractured,” he said. “There’s an absence of really constructive civil discourse... Bach, music, is definitely a convener of different people and music certainly is a great convener, bringing people together.”

American President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron were among leaders from around the world attending. President Putin appeared to wipe a tear from his eye during the performance.

Yo-Yo Ma's recently released third recording of these suites for cello is available here.