Appalachian Waltz

As a girl with an overdeveloped sense of nostalgia and a connection to the Appalachian foothills, traditional music, played with the unavoidable force of an impersonal 80-member orchestra, doesn’t work for me. This is one musical area where I’m a sucker for, well, tradition. That said, many others would disagree: Mark O’Connor and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg have been having quite a bit of success touring around his traditionally influenced Double Violin Concerto, here recorded with the Colorado Symphony. I found myself skipping over the concerto, however, to the miniature “Appalachian Waltz” that features O’Connor and Salerno-Sonnenberg alone in an elegant duet of dense harmonies. It is in a musical moment such as this that I think O’Connor most succeeds in getting out from under the shadow of the traditions that influence him and he is able to deliver an un-clichéd music of his very own.

—MS