Mark O'Connor's "Appalachia Waltz" (Feat. Yo-Yo Ma) Loved Composition For Strings





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Published on Feb 3, 2012

Mark O'Connor's beautiful 'Appalachia Waltz' featuring Yo-Yo Ma on cello, and Edgar Meyer on bass.

On O'Connor's 'Appalachia Waltz'
"What Bach did was, he took all these dances from all the known world around him and put them in suite form. Old dances, new dances, courtly dances, peasant dances. And what Mark did was, he took this piece that is somewhat based on the Norwegian fiddling style, with the drone and that, wrote it in Santa Fe, and called it `Appalachia Waltz.' It's just so moving. It's traditional. It is new. It comes from many different places, but it's authentic. So after a long Bach evening, rather than play more Bach, this is the perfect thing." -Yo-Yo Ma


"I composed "Appalachia Waltz" in 1993, while sitting in a cabin in the Santa Fe desert! I was writing a portion of my second concerto there and was working on the "Trail Of Tears" movement (named after the forced migration of the Cherokee from Tennessee) hoping to identify with some of the Native American culture in New Mexico. It had been long gone from Tennessee culture for 150 years. Then, all of the sudden, this piece appeared in my head with all of the doublestops and drones, all at once! In 15 minutes it was written. It seemed much too intimate for my concerto though, so I tucked it away and introduced it to Yo-Yo Ma a couple of years later. It turned out to be the impetus (and title inspiration) for the two projects we recorded.

It is one of my most loved pieces and I like to think it is for this reason; If it's played for folk musicians, they most often think it's classical music. When played for classical musicians, they most often think of it as folk music. Appalachia Waltz seems to exist in the middle of places. Each listener is embracing it on quite personal and maybe very different terms. When Yo-Yo performs it unaccompanied as an encore to his Bach Suite recitals, there are those who think it is old and German! When I play it unaccompanied in Southern California, it reminds people of their grandparents back in the mountains of North Carolina. Neither is true but this occurrence is one of the most important bridges I have attempted to cross; "Appalachia Waltz" has become one of my most important compositions, because it helped me create and cross yet another bridge...between audience and performer.

It's a bridge of trust. As a performer, my hope always is that the audience has trust enough to meet me in the music. Audience...performer...music... we are all elements in an equation. When those elements are "right," there's no feeling like it! -Mark O'Connor

Filmed at Lincoln Center in New York City, NY for 'Great Performances at Lincoln Center' - 2000.

For More YouTubes of Mark O'Connor's American Classical music, please view this playlist:

For more information on Mark O'Connor, String Camps, The O'Connor Method, ensembles, repertoire, sheet music and more, please visit http://www.markoconnor.com

For More YouTubes of Mark O'Connor's music:


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