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Jeff Spurgeon: This concert is a family affair. Returning for the first time since their 2019 Carnegie Hall debut. Siblings Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason present an evening of music for cello and piano. This is Carnegie Hall Live. From Zankel Hall, the underground Carnegie Hall performance space at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue. I'm Jeff Spurgeon, and John Schaefer is here as well.
John Schaefer: It is a family affair because these two young musicians, both still in their 20s, come from a family of seven siblings, each of whom plays at least one instrument. Isata is the oldest of them. She plays the piano. Sheku is-
Jeff Spurgeon: Third.
John Schaefer: -third, okay, but probably-- Not probably, certainly the most famous. If you were one of the 2 billion people who watched on television when Prince Harry married Megan Markle at Windsor Castle.
Jeff Spurgeon: There's a chance you were watching.
John Schaefer: That was Sheku Kanneh-Mason playing the cello. Now, tonight, the two of them are going to present for cello sonatas, including three B's, not Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, but Beethoven, Bridge, and Britten and some Shostakovich as well.
Jeff Spurgeon: Carnegie Hall Live is supported by PwC. PwC is a community of solvers works to bring the best of people and tech together to help build trust and deliver sustained outcomes. It all adds up to the new equation more at the newequation.com. This sibling duo is no stranger to playing great concert halls around the world. Tonight, they've returned to Carnegie in the midst of the American leg of their current tour. Like so many other musicians, they faced a season and more of cancellations during the COVID-19 pandemic in the early days.
In fact, Isata was set to make her debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Albert Hall, Royal Albert Hall in London in Beethoven's Concerto No. 3 but that performance was canceled in the early part of the worldwide lockdown.
John Schaefer: Like many musicians, Isata found other ways to express herself. In fact, the whole family came together to form a chamber ensemble, and her live stream of the first movement of that Beethoven Concerto No. 3 went viral. Getting over 300,000 views in just two days.
Jeff Spurgeon: Even bigger than the crowd at the Royal Albert Hall.
John Schaefer: Not quite as big as that TV audience for Sheku's big moment. That's not all that the Kanneh-Masons did during the lockdown. Both Isata and Sheku used that time, like many other musicians, to share music that they loved, by recording and releasing a new album.
Isata Kanneh-Mason: Well, we didn't know that it was going to be that long, we thought we were coming home for a few weeks, just as a little timeout trip. Then it ended up being much longer. I think that was the most extreme lockdown. It really felt like the whole world was on pause. It felt like London was like a different universe. I think it was nice in the sense that we all had each other and we could still play chamber music together and do online concerts. We did many things during that time that we never would have got the time or chance to do. That was the good thing that came out of it.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: We actually had the idea to make the recording whilst we were at home rehearsing because we didn't have the chance to perform this repertoire that we really loved and were enjoying working on and so making a recording felt like a nice way to share what we've been doing.
Jeff Spurgeon: Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason talking about their 2021 album titled Muse, which was a product of a pandemic lockdown. Now, the program we are about to hear, as we mentioned before, features the work of four great composers. Three very well-known and the fourth one, I think, is not as popularly known as the others, Beethoven, Benjamin Britten, and Shostakovich. The fourth being Frank Bridge. A really wonderful English composer of mostly the years before World War I, but some work after as well, including one of the works on the program tonight.
The Shostakovich Sonata is a piece that the Kanneh-Masons are going to play for us tonight and they really love it. Isata and Sheku told us why.
Isata Kanneh-Mason: I think it's a really great chamber work. In general, I think he really divides the material. There's always a conversation between the cello and the piano. Particularly, in the second movement, actually, that kind of back and forth. For me, that's really interesting to play.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: I think a lot of the heart, passion, and sorrow is all poured into the third movement of the Sonata. Even in terms of the length of all of the movements, the third movement is certainly a lot more substantial than the outer movements around it. It's clear that that movement is the most personal and where all of the heart is poured into, I think.
John Schaefer: Now, you heard Sheku Kanneh-Mason speaking about the Shostakovich Cello Sonata in D minor. You'll hear him playing it along with his sister, Isata, before we get to intermission. It's the second piece on the program. The first work is Beethoven's Cello Sonata No. 4 in C Major, just in two movements, and written at a time in Beethoven's life when he was already almost completely deaf. By this point, he had stopped performing as a pianist. Jeff, this is really something that you would call a late Beethoven piece.
Jeff Spurgeon: Yes, maybe the start of the late period, but for sure, in that more experimental phase when Beethoven was kicking off those old shells of the old forms, using them, but blowing them up, expanding them, moving them around.
John Schaefer: The two-movement format, for example.
Jeff Spurgeon: Yes. Beethoven is a sort of a bridge between the classical and the romantic periods moving away from those very formally structured works that are the classical sound, and toward what we'll hear in this piece, which is a little more unconventional, in terms of musical language and form, but also has lots of emotion in the harmonies. Well, good heavens. It sounds like people are on stage, John.
John Schaefer: At a sold-out Zankel Hall. The medium size hall here at Carnegie Hall. Isata and Sheku Kanneh-Mason to get us started with Beethoven's Cello Sonata No.4 from Carnegie Hall Live.
Jeff Spurgeon: From Carnegie Hall Live, you've just heard Beethoven, his Cello Sonata No. 4, the Opus 102, No. 1, in a performance by Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason, the brother-sister duo are back in New York and they aren't leaving the stage. It looks like we're headed for that Shostakovich's Cello Sonata in D right away after a little tuning.
John Schaefer: The Cello Sonata in D Minor is Shostakovich's Opus 40. He didn't write a lot for cello, although he did write two wonderful concertos for Rostropovich. This piece has some pretty high-spirited moments as the Beethoven did. That's coming up next from Zankel Hall.
Jeff Spurgeon: Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Isata Kanneh-Mason have just brought to you from Carnegie Hall Live, the first of the cello sonatas of Dmitri Shostakovich, his Opus 40, received by a performance of the fourth of Beethoven's five sonatas for cello and piano. Backstage, at Carnegie Zankel Hall, I'm Jeff Spurgeon along with John Schaefer.
John Schaefer: Sheku Kanneh-Mason playing the cello, his sister Isata, playing the piano here at Zankel Hall. It is officially the Cello Sonata in D Minor, although it twists and turns harmonically until the very end when you do finally get that D minor happening. The siblings back out on stage at Zankel Hall to take a bow before intermission. Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason with a program of four works for cello and piano. The two of them have become familiar figures on the London music scene, and as we mentioned earlier, Jeff, Sheku certainly a familiar figure globally these days. He was the first black musician to win the prestigious BBC Young Musician Award about six years ago now.
Jeff Spurgeon: That's right. Isata has had a wonderful time in the spotlight in the last couple of years as well, releasing a very well-received album of music by Clara Schumann, and doing some other work as well. They are both stars and also their stars are on the rise as well. We've heard half of their program tonight. Ahead we have Cello Sonatas by Benjamin Britten and Frank Bridge as well. This is listener-supported Classical New York, 105.9 FM at HDWQXR Newark, and 90.3 FM WQXW, Ossining.
Carnegie Hall Live is supported by PwC. PwC is Community of Solvers work to bring the best of people and tech together to help build trust and deliver sustained outcomes. It all adds up to the new equation, more at thenewequation.com. Beethoven, Shostakovich with Frank Bridge, and Benjamin Britten, yet to come. There are some links among these works, but there are more than you might perceive at first glance, and the Kanneh-Masons told us about those connections and how it helped them to pick this repertoire.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: One of the strong connections between a lot of the repertoire is Rostropovich, of course, the Britten Sonata was written for him. The Shostakovich [unintelligible 00:51:31] wasn't written for Rostropovich, but he performed that a lot with Shostakovich playing the piano. There's a wonderful recording of the Bridge Sonata with Rostropovich, and Benjamin Britten playing the piano as well.
Isata Kanneh-Mason: We fell in love with the Bridge as soon as we heard it, and then there's the connection between Bridge and Britten with Bridge being Britten's teacher, and so we thought that those two pieces worked really well together.
John Schaefer: Isata Kanneh-Mason, speaking there about the connection between Frank Bridge and Benjamin Britten, two English composers whose works make up the second half of the program tonight, and of course, Jeff, there's another connection, which is that Benjamin Britten famously wrote a series of variations on a theme of Frank Bridge, one of his better-known pieces. Sheku Kanneh-Mason also pointed out the looming figure of cellist Mstislav Rostropovich universally called Slava by everybody who met him.
Jeff Spurgeon: Well, it's a lot easier than Mstislav Rostropovich.
John Schaefer: Yes, it is. It is hard to find a contemporary cellist who does not acknowledge the gigantic figure that Slava was. I had the extreme pleasure of spending a couple of days with him in London back in 2002. He was in fact conducting Shostakovitch, the Shostakovich Symphony number seven, with the London Symphony Orchestra that year, and he never actually learned to speak English properly. However, he had absolutely no difficulty in making himself understood. He was a magnificent storyteller in a bunch of garbled languages, in addition to his own perfectly fluent Russian.
Someone who had an especially big impact on young musicians in London, where a young Sheku Kanneh-Mason certainly would've come in contact if not with Slava directly, because he passed away in 2007, certainly with many cellists who carried on his tradition and his influence.
Jeff Spurgeon: Yes, the influence of Rostropovich continues as we say to this day. It was in that year, 2007, which was the year Rostropovich died, that one of our former colleagues, Sarah Fishco of WNYC radio in New York, spoke with some of the people who, as you said, John, like those musicians you met in London, knew Rostropovich, and knew exactly what made him so very special.
Sarah Fishco: There is a generation of cellists, a couple of generations actually, who remember the truly incredible, positively inspirational experience of hearing Mstislav Rostropovich play live on stage on an instrument known as subtle, quiet, intimate.
Matt Haimovitz: The sound that Slava produced could cut through anything.
Sarah Fishco: Cellist Matt Haimovitz.
Matt Haimovitz: Just seeing this man projecting to the last corners of the hall with his sheer sound and will.
Fred Sherry: I think people in the audience were bowled over by not only his playing but his endurance and the life in his playing.
Sarah Fishco: Cellist Fred Sherry remembers Rostropovich's sheer physical presence as he poured out one great cello classic after another.
David Finckel: This guy came out and he was an animal out on the stage, you could say he's the Marlon Brando of the cello.
Sarah Fishco: The late cellist David Sawyer, who was a founder of the Guarneri Quartet, remembered the earliest Carnegie Hall concerts of Rostropovich.
David Sawyer: Completely unknown guy appeared, [unintelligible 00:55:34] played wonderfully. He was a great personality. Even then, immediately sensed this is somebody.
Alisa Weilerstein: He was so moving and so natural.
Sarah Fishco: Alisa Weilerstein heard him play toward the end of his life.
Alisa Weilerstein: I'm not the type that cries at concerts, but I lost it completely.
Sarah Fishco: It was that rich sound that got them. The remarkable Rostropovich tone opened the instrument in a way nobody had ever played quite like it.
David Finckel: Rostropovich always liked to say in masterclasses, cellist, number one problem is sound.
Sarah Fishco: Emerson Quartet cellist David Finckel studied with Rostropovich for nine years.
David Finckel: Violins can always be heard because they're high. It's much easier to hear higher sounds, and as soon as you get lower, you have the challenge of dealing with whatever accompaniment may be there. Not to mention ambient noise.
Sarah Fishco: For Rostropovich, this was simply the whole point of playing the cello to defy its limitations, to exhaust its possibilities.
Matt Haimovitz: I was seven years old, but the impact of the sound that he was creating, I was fascinated by it.
Sarah Fishco: Matt Haimovitz is the acclaimed jealous known for performing Bach in nightclubs in pizzerias.
Matt Haimovitz: I couldn't understand how so much sound was coming out of one instrument.
Sarah Fishco: His cello is almost horizontal. Cellist Maya Beiser is a founding member of the new music Group, Bang on a Can All-Stars. She describes Rostropovich's cello as having been positioned almost like a violin, almost parallel to the floor.
Maya Beiser: He had this way that he was just completely on top of the instrument, totally owning it.
Sarah Fishco: For cellists and aspiring cellists, he was a powerhouse of a presence in the concert hall, but they all listened to him on records too.
The Dvorak Concerto with Karajan, I believe conducting.
I was just so taken by this kind of grandioseness and bigger-than-life quality.
David Finckel: I got one recording and it was the Saint-Saens Concerto, but I had never heard a cello voice that made me want to be for sure a cellist, and that was it. It was just as though I had seen the light.
Fred Sherry: My dad got me the record of the Shostakovich Concerto with the Phil Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy conducting, and that was the first thing that made him famous in the West. He came over and nobody could believe that he could play as well as he did.
Sarah Fishco: What is interesting and telling is that even with his great recordings as a soloist, all the cellists mentioned a particular unlikely and very fruitful collaboration, the expansive Russian had with the great 20th-century English composer Benjamin Britten. It was this recording written at the piano by Rostropovich the cello, the music by Schubert, that they all point to.
Matt Haimovitz: Schubert Arpeggione Sonata.
Sarah Fishco: The Arpeggione Sonata with Britten.
Fred Sherry: The Schubert Arpeggione Sonata Classic recording.
David Finckel: His performances with Benjamin Britten at the piano.
[music- Schubert Arpeggione Sonata]
Sarah Fishco: The cellists say there was something else in Rostropovich's playing something behind his bow, according to James Kreger, that actually altered his tone.
James Kreger: For me, it was the commitment all the time actually not just playing cello.
Fred Sherry: There was something about the musicality of his personality and his presence that just made everybody feel more musical more connected to the music and more able to come to his level somehow.
Matt Haimovitz: It was a sincerity there was a connection that he was making with his music. He could make anything sing no matter how difficult, he could overcome all this and make it seem as natural as the human voice.
Sarah Fishco: Some players are defined by their art, the great violinist Jascha Heifetz comes to mind as one who was a violinist first, last, and always. For Rostropovich, it was different. His art was defined by him, by all of the things he was apart from cello, he put it all in there. What came out stunned and impressed cellists of every stripe, not to mention the rest of us. I'm Sarah Fishco.
Jeff Spurgeon: You've gotten to spend a few minutes with a great cellist and well, a whole bunch of great cellists but the other is talking about the one about Rostropovich's influence. I think that this idea of Rostropovich's strength is so apparent in everything that you hear. He's like a, I don't know, I would say a verdi baritone. There's just a lot of muscle behind everything that's going on, it doesn't take away the tenderness or the expression. There's just heft behind it and that is part of Rostropovich's influenced too.
John Schaefer: Right. One of the cellist said it was what was behind the bow and use the word commitment. I would also use the word storytelling. That this was a man who knew how to communicate, as I said before, even if he didn't have exactly the correct grammar and syntax, he knew how to communicate. Whether it was with a baton in his hand, or a bow and a cello in front of him, or a journalist or radio host across the dinner table, he knew how to communicate.
Jeff Spurgeon: And wanted to reach out.
John Schaefer: Wanted to bring you into his world and that more than anything, is why when they released a huge box set of Rostropovich's recording, they didn't call it Slava, they called it Slava with an exclamation point. That was Rostropovich.
Jeff Spurgeon: Right. Yes, that's exactly right. A cellist whose influence has been felt for so long, and is part of this concept too big for all the reasons that John spoke about all the musicians who knew him, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who did not work with Rostropovich, but certainly worked with people who knew him. The repertoire is something that is part of that Rostropovich connection as well, specifically, with the Benjamin Britten concerto that we're going to hear as the closing work on this program. Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason talked about what makes the Britten cello so special.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: He has written a lot for the cello but I think the Sonata for arpeggione and piano, for me, is my favorite of Britten's writing the cello. It's full of so many amazing ideas and uses of the instrument and influences of different musical styles as well. You can hear throughout all of the different five movements, all kinds of different character pieces that full of character.
[music- Sonata for arpeggione and piano]
One of my favorites is the second movement, which is just Pizzicato for the cello. This is wonderful conversation between the cello playing pizzicato and the piano.
[music- Pizzicato for the cello]
Isata Kanneh-Mason: I like what he does with the textures between the cello and the piano because the cello obviously pizzicato the whole way through. The piano is often quite percussive, or there's some passages where it's quite ethereal in sound, and I think that really blends well with the cello.
[music- Pizzicato for the cello]
John Schaefer: You heard Isata Kanneh-Mason speaking there about one of the pieces that she and her brother Sheku who will perform after intermission the Benjamin Britten Cello Sonata in C major, which is the last piece on the program tonight. We'll also hear from Britten's teacher Frank bridge and some of his music for cello and piano as well. Jeff, we were upstairs in the big hall earlier this season on Carnegie Hall live.
Jeff Spurgeon: Stern Auditorium. Yes.
John Schaefer: We got to hear a bit of Britten one of my favorite pieces in fact The Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes played by another but somewhat larger British ensemble than the one here at St. Cal Hall tonight the Royal Philharmonic conducted here by Vasily Petrenko.
[music Royal Philharmonic conducted by Vasily Petrenko]
That's the Royal Philharmonic playing just a little bit of Benjamin Britten's music is Four Sea Interludes from the opera Peter Grimes conducted here by Vasily Petrenko from earlier in this Carnegie Hall live season but now we are back with Isata and Sheku Kanneh-Mason sister and brother respectively onstage at Carnegie's St. Cal Hall to perform some more British music. This will be the Cello Sonata in D Minor by Benjamin Britton's teacher, the composer, Frank Bridge from Carnegie Hall Live.
MUSIC - FRANK BRIDGE: Cello Sonata in D Minor MUSIC - FRANK BRIDGE: Cello Sonata in D Minor [Cello Sonata in D Minor: Adagio ma non troppo by Frank Bridge]
Jeff Spurgeon: From Carnegie Hall Live, Sheku Kanneh-Mason on cello and Isata Kanneh-Mason, his sister, on piano, and the Sonata for those instruments by the English composer Frank Bridge. The third of four works you're hearing on this broadcast from Carnegie Hall Live. The fourth, it appears, is about to begin. It is the Cello Sonata in C of Benjamin Britten. Just a minor adjustment and a couple of pages of music and it seems that we will begin with the Britten Cello Sonata from Carnegie Hall Live.
[Cello Sonata in C Op. 65 - I. Dialogo. Allegro by Benjamin Britten]
[Cello Sonata in C Op. 65 - II. Scherzo-Pizzicato. Allegretto by Benjamin Britten] [Cello Sonata in C Op. 65 - II. Scherzo-Pizzicato. Allegretto by Benjamin Britten]
[Cello Sonata in C Op. 65 - III. Elegia. Lento by Benjamin Britten]
[Cello Sonata in C Op. 65 - IV. Marcia. Energico by Benjamin Britten]
[Cello Sonata in C Op. 65 - V. Moto perpetuo. Presto by Benjamin Britten] [Cello Sonata in C Op. 65 - V. Moto perpetuo. Presto by Benjamin Britten]
Jeff Spurgeon: It's a world full of so many moods, so many surprises, so many wonderful turns. The Cello Sonata of Benjamin Britten, written for Rostropovich, played for you just now from Carnegie Hall Live by cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason and his sister, pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason. Backstage at Zankel Hall, Carnegie's underground performance space, where this recital is coming from. I'm Jeff Spurgeon, along with John Schaefer.
John Schaefer: That Benjamin Britten Cello Sonata is in C Major, and it strikes me, Jeff, that this concert has followed a kind of arch form. We began with the Beethoven Sonata in C Major, then we heard the Shostakovich Sonata in D Minor. The Frank Bridge Sonata also in D minor, and then returned with the final piece to C Major.
Jeff Spurgeon: Not a steep arch, a very gentle arc, but yes, an arc for sure.
John Schaefer: I wonder if that was a part of the programming that Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason-- I wonder if they had that in mind when they were putting this program together. We won't have a chance to ask them just yet, because we suspect there will be an encore in our not-too-distant future as the two of them are back out on stage at Zankel Hall, taking a bow, acknowledging the audience, and now taking their places again at their respective instruments. Let's hear what they've got for us next.
John Schaefer: What a lovely arrangement of the old American spiritual, Deep River. Sheku Kanneh-Mason playing the cello, his sister Isata Kanneh-Mason at the piano, on stage at Zankel Hall, Carnegie's medium size hall. The Kanneh-Masons made their Carnegie Hall debut here, Jeff, 2019, in the Weill Recital Hall, the smallest of the three venues here at Carnegie. Nowhere to go next, but upstairs to the big room
Jeff Spurgeon: Well, based on the sold-out audience they have for tonight's recital and a warm reception, we could say, perhaps that is where they will head next, but right now, Sheku and Isata are back on stage appreciating the applause from a very appreciative Zankel Hall audience at Carnegie Hall. Lots of the audience on its feet right now.
John Schaefer: Some really committed and confident playing throughout the program, but especially in the Frank Bridge, which is, of the four pieces, the four main pieces that we heard, the least well-known and the one that I guess they had to work the hardest at to bring the audience in.
Jeff Spurgeon: Yes, but it's a very beautiful work, and though the first movement was written-- it's an unusual sonata because it was written in really two completely different periods of world history, at least from the English point of view, because Frank Bridge wrote the first movement about 1913, and then he didn't get to the second movement until the end of World War I, when the European world was upended, much of it destroyed and much of that culture never to return in that same form again, and yet the contrast was not as great as, in a way, I was expecting. The lyricism of Bridge poured right through the whole thing.
John Schaefer: It did sound like a single composition.
Jeff Spurgeon: Yes. [crosstalk]
John Schaefer: As we were saying, some very committed playing from our musicians tonight. Once again, backstage at Zankel Hall. I'm John Schaffer, alongside Jeff Spurgeon, and joining us, the cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason. Congratulations. Wonderful event tonight.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thanks for listening.
Jeff Spurgeon: You've had-- go ahead, John.
John Schaefer: I'm really curious about the two of you growing up in a family of seven siblings, all of whom play music. Is it just like sheer bedlam around the house? How did you all get-- did you get assigned instruments? I mean, Isata, you're the oldest. Did you get first choice at the piano?
Isata Kanneh-Mason: No, we all chose our own instruments, and then we just got used to all practicing at the same time and practicing with the sound of other people practicing. It just became what we were used to.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: In a way, it's actually nice to practice and know that other people are practicing around you. It's less of a lonely thing, I guess. It's helpful.
John Schaefer: How many of the seven are pianists, cellists? Do you have any electric guitarists? Do you have drummers?
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: It's only piano, violin, and cello, which is not the broadest of ranges, but there's two cellists, three pianists, and two violinists.
Isata Kanneh-Mason: Yes, that's right.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: That adds up to seven.
John Schaefer: You're both members of the Chineke! Orchestra or were.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: I used to play the viola, but not so much. Actually not at all anymore-
Isata Kanneh-Mason: Not at all anymore.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: -but she did play the viola in the orchestra [unintelligible 02:00:06]
John Schaefer: Any of the rest of the family-- First of all, explain what the Chineke! Orchestra is?
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Yes, it's a wonderful orchestra of majority Black and minority ethnic musicians. For us, it was a really inspiring project to be part of because I played in the first concert and I was 16, perhaps. It was my first experience playing in a professional orchestra and walking out on stage with all of these [unintelligible 02:00:29] world class musicians and for them all to be role models for me I think was a very special moment. I will always remember that moment of walking on stage with the orchestra.
Jeff Spurgeon: Well, you've been enjoying a really wonderful trip across America these last few weeks. You have a few more dates to go, Boston and Toronto and-
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Atlanta is the final one.
Jeff Spurgeon: -Atlanta. How have you been finding audiences back-- You are back, the Kanneh-Masons are back, the pandemic is eased, and you are in front of audiences again. How are you feeling this experience?
Isata Kanneh-Mason: Yes, I was actually thinking this evening looking out at the full hall, that it's just really amazing to be seeing this again. Two years ago I really didn't know where we were going to be at this time. To be touring and to be playing to full concert halls is really wonderful. It feels like we're getting back.
Jeff Spurgeon: You have much to look forward to. Sheku, you are a part of the Last Night of the Proms this year with Lisa Davidson. That's a lovely honor for you.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Yes, that will be a fun occasion. [unintelligible 02:01:28]
Jeff Spurgeon: Isata, my goodness. The things you've done during pandemic, I think they have just been just wonderful. A couple of albums. That wonderful Clara Schumann album, and then spending some time in American music as well. Then you guys did the album together. Who's made more use of the pandemic than the two of you?
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: It was nice that we were-- Well, for six months or so we were locked down together, so we did a lot of rehearsing, which was nice. I guess that's why we had lots to record.
Isata Kanneh-Mason: We weren't doing any concerts, so recording became our focus.
Jeff Spurgeon: What lies ahead for you, because yes, the Proms this summer, but what else is up ahead for you, Isata?
Isata Kanneh-Mason: Well, this summer I'm coming back to the States in August to play at the Hollywood Bowl. Apart from that, we're just doing a few more concerts together in Europe and in the UK.
Jeff Spurgeon: Then Sheku, you're back in the fall as well with Mirga and the Birmingham Orchestra.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Yes, with the CBSO. That will be really fun. We're doing mostly [unintelligible 02:02:28] some of the concerts are [unintelligible 02:02:29]
Jeff Spurgeon: I think he wrote a concerto for your instrument, didn't he?
Jeff Spurgeon: It's a little piece.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: He did.
Jeff Spurgeon: Whose arrangement was that of Deep River that you ended with tonight?
Isata Kanneh-Mason: It was actually ours. We based it off the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor arrangement for piano, but we made it our own with cello and changed some things.
Jeff Spurgeon: It was really just a lovely, lovely way to end the evening.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Thank you.
Jeff Spurgeon: You've had a wonderful survey of music from Beethoven, the first guy to put these two instruments together as they are. Then through these 20th century works too. It feels like a wonderful, generous thing, and I think the audience felt that too. So we're really grateful that you're back. Come back again, all right?
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: We'd love to, of course.
Jeff Spurgeon: Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason with us backstage at Zankel Hall. I know you have some people who want to say hello to you, so thank you for indulging us.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Thank you. Our pleasure [unintelligible 02:03:23]
Isata Kanneh-Mason: Thank you so much.
Jeff Spurgeon: We'll see you again for sure.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Yes.
Isata Kanneh-Mason: Thank you. See you.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Thanks for having us.
Jeff Spurgeon: Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason, have concluded a recital at Zankel Hall of music by Beethoven, Shostakovich, Frank Bridge, and Benjamin Britten. Nice ties in combination among all the works together. Carnegie Hall Live is supported by PWC. PWC is a community of solvers, works to bring the best of people and tech together to help build trust and deliver sustained outcomes. It all adds up to the new equation. More at thenewequation.com.
John Schaefer: Our thanks to Clive Gillinson and the staff here at Carnegie Hall. The WQXR recording crew headed as usual by Edward Haber and including George Wellington, Irene Trudel, and Chase Culpon, and our WQXR production team led by Eileen Delahunty, Lauren Purcell-Joiner, Christine Herskovitz, and Laura Boyman.
Jeff Spurgeon: Carnegie Hall Live is a co-production of WQXR and Carnegie Hall. This is listener supported Classical New York, 105.9 FM and HD, WQXR Newark, and 90.3 FM WQXW [unintelligible 02:04:36]
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