I find these pieces very touching in a mysterious kind of way
Mstislav Rostropovich, London Symphony Orchestra/Benjamin Britten
Britten Cello Symphony
Rostropovich is the cellists’ cellist – he was an overwhelming presence, and inspired some of the greatest composers to write for the instrument. I find the Cello Symphony fascinating – it plumbs deep into the colours that make our instrument shine. The language Britten uses is such a precursor of the world I now live in as a musician.
Ron Carter Dear Miles
Jazz bassist Ron Carter is another towering figure on his instrument. He came from a period of such creativity, such exploration and breaking open of the genre, and working with Miles Davis, every album they released had a new language. I play with him every couple of years in New York, and I love his latest album, Dear Miles.
Missy Mazzoli Songs from the Uproar
Missy Mazzoli is a young US composer with a very patient and mystical kind of language, and she’s a wonderfully open, vivacious personality. I find these pieces very touching in a mysterious kind of way. Ethel is working on a commission with her, so I’m listening to her music a lot right now.
Nico Muhly Honest Music
This is a classic – it’s where people go to get to know Nico Muhly’s musical style. It’s post-minimalist, kind of post-Philip Glass, beautiful and smart, and very enjoyable to listen to.
Jeff Buckley Grace
Jeff Buckley’s voice just stuns me – it’s so original, and his sound production was so big and free. He could play with intonation so richly, and everything he sang was exactly what he intended to do. ‘Grace’ is a heart-rending cry, railing at death – it’s an epic wail in the darkness.
Macklemore Thrift Shop
This is the thing I’ve heard most over the last couple of months – it’s a giant hip-hop hit, and my 15-year-old daughter listens to it all the time. I love the fact that I can learn about music from her, and this guy is brilliant. He’s very socially conscious – the song is about the crazy amounts we spend on designer clothes – and the music is fun and funky, with lots of harmonic development.
Photo: Mary Catherine