The first CD I ever bought was Yo-Yo Ma & Bobby McFerrin’s collaborative album Hush. There isn’t a cellist my age who didn’t grow up following Ma’s career, and McFerrin was just becoming popular when I was a freshman in high school. To me, the pair of them represent some of the best of my musical memories from those four years.
Hush is also the album I come back to, over and over. Just as I do with favorite novels, I find new things in it every time it resurfaces. Originally, my favorite pieces were the eponymous Hush, and the Air from Orchestral Suite No. 3, but lately it’s the Ave Maria that really speaks to me, maybe because there’s such peace in that song – the kind of peace you need at the beginning of December so that you stay calm and strong throughout the month of craziness and busy-ness and inevitable crankiness.
The entire album, though, is just lovely. The combined talents of these two men draws you in and makes you focus on the music first and the musicians second, and while it’s grounded in classical music, it pokes fun at the serious tone of the genre, and softens itself with lullabys.
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who is also a writer in which I explained that I think in music.
At this time of year, when I go back to these two projects, I’m really going back to the Decembers of my youth and celebrating themm in song and story.
Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod) as performed by Yo-Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin on the album, Hush. (audio only) :