I know I'm probably opening the door to a big debate (which I really don't want), but the other day I started thinking about that old idea: if I had to spend the rest of my life on a desert island and could only take 10 recordings with me, what would they be? It got me wondering which pieces I would miss most if I couldn't hear them again (rather than specific recordings) because I thought it would tell me something about what I look for in music. To force myself to have the most variety, I limited myself to one work per composer.
I don't think I favor any particular style or genre. I like pieces that move me emotionally, but are complex enough that I don't get bored with them. My record collections break down, very roughly, into about equal parts classical, jazz, classic rock, and Broadway musicals (I refuse to use the phrase "Show Tunes"). So, when I had to settle on my final list of ten, my choices surprised me. It was much more heavily weighted toward the classical end of the spectrum than I expected. I noticed that I tend to favor longer works with identifiable stories. And, as much as I tried to include more musicals, and at least one classic rock tune, I just couldn't bring myself bump any of the others.
So, for what it's worth, here's my list (in no particular order). I suspect some of my choices will be obvious, while others may provoke some head scratching. I think it would be interesting to see what other forum members would come up with if they had to make a similar list and their reasons.
1. Mozart's "Rondo Alla Turca"
2. Debussy's "Clair de lune"
3. Bizet's opera "Carmen"
4. Handel's opera "Giulio Cesare in Egitto"
5. Grieg's score for "Peer Gynt"
6. Bernstein's score for "Candide"
7. Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker"
8. Prokofiev's ballet "Romeo and Juliet"
9. Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado"
10. Sidney Bechet's "That's a Plenty"