Photo by Eyasu Etsub on Unsplash

The French composer Camille Saint-Saëns’s Danse Macabre or “Dance of Death” consists of drama and darkness. There is, at times, a lightness, a playfulness, and a sweetness, but always a dark undercurrent, an undercurrent of urgency and gravitas.

While performing at NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma explained, “I’ve lived with all of this music all my life so actually embedded in the way I play is actually in many ways, everything…