My top ten playlist… where to start… and stop?!
During lockdown I actually did the same exercise with a group of friends (string players of course), no copying at all, honest your honour.
In no particular order of greatness
- Mozart Sinfonia Concertante – Last movement
For the joy of making music. Whilst ill in bed with the dreaded Covid-19 earlier this year, I heard Nicola Benedetti and Lawrence Power perform this and am sure their sheer exuberant playing greatly aided my recovery.
- Schubert – Quintet: First movement
Our daughter was born to the sound of this and when she had safely arrived, a steady stream of nurses appeared round the door asking: “What was that beautiful music called?” 18 years later our daughter performed it her school, karma?
- Mendelssohn Octet
I first heard the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra principals perform this when I was 18 and fell in love with it. I now play it every September with fellow ESTA members at an Octet and Pimms party: an essential part of preparation for the new term I feel.
- Strauss – ‘Four Last Songs’
Just sublime. Imagine composing these when you are in your 80’s? Renee Fleming’s Prom debut of 2001 is a moment of heaven.
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Surely the best pop song ever? I have the original single! Hang on a minute, what about ‘Don’t stop me now…?’
- Prokofiev – Romeo and Juliet
My all-time favourite ballet, I never got tired of performing this. Best memory: trying to keep a solemn face whilst desperately reaching up to find the top note in the mandolin part. N.B. What about all those Stravinsky ballets too?
- Mahler 5 – Adagietto
Sheer bliss. First played on tour in Spain whilst at RCM and I remember reaching the top note, seeing a large gliss and like a cat stuck up a tree thinking ‘How on earth can I safely descend now?’
- Brahms – ‘German Requiem’
First played aged 16 and the opening has sent shivers down my spine ever since (but what about the string sextets?).
- All Bach – Is that allowed?
If not, then I will settle for St. John Passion which transcends this world into the next.
- Tchaikowsky Violin Concerto
Because you must. I heard Joshua Bell perform it at the start of the year with the Academy of St. Martin’s and loved the energy and communication in the performance.
I am sorry, but I am not going anywhere without a backup suitcase containing:
- Beach Boys (for sunshine)
- Abba (for dancing on the beach)
- Schoenberg Verklarte Nacht (for such a moving poem behind it)
- Britten: Peter Grimes (for power and pathos)
- Best of Motown (to sing to)
- Dvorak serenade (for the sheer joy of playing it, agh)
- Elgar Violin Concerto (my first tape bought for my new tape recorder, Pinchas Zukerman was so inspiring)
- FINALLY, all those wonderful string quartets (too numerous to start mentioning now)…
If music be the food of love, just keep on going.