french horn masterclass

Summer Listening for June 2021

Here are a few different odds and ends that I’ve been meaning to post for awhile!

Yo-Yo Ma Replies to Twitter Comments

Yo-Yo Ma has been on of the most iconic and well-known classical musicians for decades. In addition to his numerous (great) recording of the Bach Cello Suites, his recordings of sonatas for cello and piano by Beethoven and Brahms should be required listening for every musician.

I recently saw a YouTube video of him answering questions on Twitter, and reminded me how much I love his playing and his attitude. He got a few silly questions (“Do cellists take a course in raising their eyebrows?” or “Why can’t they sit still while they play?”) but he answers them so thoughtfully and respectfully, that I was caught off guard. There’s not only great advice in this video for cello players, but for all musicians – especially his thoughts about expressing emotions through music.

You can watch it here:

If, like me, this set you down a Yo-Yo Ma rabbit hole, enjoy his Tiny Desk concert from 2018:

And if you want to here him a bit outside the classical genre that most people shoehorn him into, here’s a Tiny Desk concert from 2011. Featuring Yo-Yo Ma along with Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, and Stuart Duncan:

If you want even more Yo-Yo Ma, he’s also released a new Audible audiobook, Beginner’s Mind, that shares his life story and personal philosophy with musical interludes provided by himself.

Sarah Willis Album Reissued

If you want something a big more horn-focused, Sarah Willis has one of her first albums, Horn Discoveries reissued by Alpha. It’s now available either as a physical CD, MP3s, or streaming via Amazon Music.

If you like Sarah (and how can you not?), make sure that you also check out Sarah’s most recent album – Mozart y Mambo released in 2020. It combines some of the classic Mozart warhorses with the Cuban Mambo. It’s definitely quirky, but in the best way.

You can hear one of the tracks – Rondo alla Mambo – here:

There aren’t many arrangements of a Mozart horn concerto that include a percussion break, but this one does, and it’s awesome.

Of course, this also features some of Sarah’s ridiculous low playing.