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.

Sarah Drury

In no particular order of greatness

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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…?’
  6. 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?
  7. 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?’
  8. Brahms – ‘German Requiem’
    First played aged 16 and the opening has sent shivers down my spine ever since (but what about the string sextets?).
  9. All Bach – Is that allowed?
    If not, then I will settle for St. John Passion which transcends this world into the next.
  10. 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.

Sarah Drury