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Topic: WAY OT - Desert Island Discs

  1. #1

    WAY OT - Desert Island Discs

    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"

    Allegro Data Solutions

  2. #2

    Re: WAY OT - Desert Island Discs

    It's a really nice topic, and shouldn't ever open any kind of debate, ejr. It would be silly to tell anyone their choices for "Desert Island" recordings are "wrong" or "silly." We all would just choose what we'd choose, and who's to argue?!

    I love your list - "Peer Gynt," mmmm, that would probably be on my list too. And I really like it that you have "The Mikado" up there! (more on that below)

    I can't bring myself to narrow a list down - I agonized over assembling a list, and had to give up! But I do think I'd have to have Holst's "The Planets," and a Mahler symphony. Hmmm, and John Adams' "Nixon in China" - and since as per your list, full works can be included, from the pop/rock genre I'd probably include The Beatles' "Abbey Road." You have a Bernstein - I'd probably not be able to do without "West Side Story."

    Since you like Gilbert and Sullivan, you may get a kick out of this:

    Ten years ago - long before I owned a computer, and when all my music was being recorded with hardware synths, I produced an adaptation of the entire "Mikado" score for a local production of the show. It's definitely not pure G&S. I simplified the score, added instruments, and produced it with a kind of pop tongue-in-cheek attitude.

    Naturally these are crude compared to what any of us can do now with our software instruments, but I just now had a listen and I'm not too embarrassed to share. I kept the tracks dry, since they were to be played over speakers in an auditorium that would add its own natural ambiance.

    Here is the show's opening, "If you want to know who we are."

    And you'll see in the side menu that two other Mikado numbers are in that same folder - "Our Great Mikado, virtuous man" and "The sun whose rays are all ablaze." If you listen to that last one, you'll notice that in the opening verse, as per the original score, there's only a pulse, without the vocal melody line being doubled. That worked well in performance, but since it and all of these were only backing tracks, the full composition can't be heard-that nice melody line is absent.

    Anyway - You might get a kick out of those.

    Thanks again for the fun thread - I hope other people join in.


  3. #3

    Re: WAY OT - Desert Island Discs


    Your MIKADO adaptation reminded me a lot of the Joseph Papp revival of PIRATES OF PENZANCE, which unabashedly used synths, saxes and all manor of percussion. Nicely done. I have always thought of Sir Arthur Sullivan as the Paul McCartney of his age, with an unerring knack for melody (whether it be playful or breathtakingly beautiful). I thought about PIRATES for my list, but in the end felt that, musically at least, the MIKADO was the superior work.

    I tried to fit in a Beatles song. Though I can see where you are coming from, especially with the B side of ABBEY ROAD, I just didn't feel that any of their albums was cohesive enough to regard as a single composition. Still, I hoped to find a place for YESTERDAY, ELENOR RIGBY or HEY JUDE. In the end, it would have required me to eliminate another piece that held a deeper fascination for me.

    I was also tempted to replace the Grieg piece, which is very well-known, with his SUITE FOR STRING ORCHESTRA, because it is one of my favorites. But it doesn't have nearly the variety and emotional depth of PEER GYNT.

    I chose CANDIDE over WEST SIDE STORY for the Bernstein selection for similar reasons. He spent much more time on it, beginning work before WEST SIDE STORY and revising it many times afterword with different lyricists and orchestrators. IMHO it didn't fully succeed until the recent concert version at Lincoln Center, which purportedly included all the musical numbers that had been cut and a drastically trimmed book. If you haven't seen that production (starring Kristen Chenoweth) it might change your mind. My other candidates were Bernstein's ballet FACSIMILE, AGE OF ANXIETY, and the CHICHESTER PSALMS.

    Regarding NIXON IN CHINA. I appeared as an actor (not singing) in Peter Sellars production of Mozart's "Giulio Cesare in Egitto", which I always felt was the inspiration for it.

    I also wished I could include a Sondheim score (SWEENY TODD being, perhaps, my favorite).

    Anyway, the reason I started the list was to try to identify what inspires me most in music. The reason I posted it was to see what other forum members would chose and why.

    Allegro Data Solutions

  4. #4

    Re: WAY OT - Desert Island Discs

    Here are my 10 cents:

    1. to 6. — Beethoven, your choice
    7. Schubert, Impromptus Op. 90 & 142
    8. Mahler, 3rd Symphony
    9. Sibelius, 2nd Symphony
    10. My Funny Valentine as it was performed in Miles Davis in Concert
    Arrigo Beyle / Milanese / Lived, wrote, loved -- Stendhal
    Being Italian is a full-time job -- B. Severgnini

  5. #5

    Re: WAY OT - Desert Island Discs

    Hey, ejr, this is funny: I'm in!

    Well.. funny...it is a headache 'cause you know since the start that you have to leave out so much... Anyway... 10? 10!

    Funny enough, yesterday, in the listening room, I was talking about two of my favorite musicians. Tom Waits and Paolo Conte. They have to be in ...

    -any Paolo Conte's "best of" will do...
    - ...while I'll pick Tom's "Nighthawks at the diner". This "fake live" has been criticized a lot and we know that Waits' full maturity came a few albums after that... but one hell of a session: Bill Goodwin on drums... Melvoin on piano... jazz.. story-telling... Waits' jokes and creativity.... doesn't get much better than this.
    - time for some italian '600 baroque. Any mixed salad will do, as long as Albinoni's "concerti a cinque" op 9 no 2, A. Marcello's concerto for oboe and strings no 2 and Geminiani's Concerto grosso op. 3 no 2 are in.
    - Vivaldi... tempted to include the obvious - the Four Seasons - ... but I'll pick the Estro Armonico.
    - Bach... geez.. too rich a catalogue... I'll skip the Partita no. 2 for solo violin (aaahhh the Chaconne... how to survive without it)... and pick the Brandeburg concertos.
    - Mozart. I'll go with the Zauberflote.
    - Tchaikovski. Violin Concerto in D, op. 35
    - Jazz guitar.. can not live without it. Joe Pass ... Metheny... but I'll pick Tuck Andress. "Tears of joy" will do.
    - Some musical now... I'll take JCS. That counts as "rock", too, so I'll catch two birds with one stone as I' m short of slots at this point.
    - And finally some movie music... difficult. The nominees are: Corigliano's "The Red Violin". Morricone's "The Mission". Nyman: "The piano". J.C. Petit's "Cyrano de Bergerac". Marianelli's "Pride & Prejudice". And the winner is.... probably "The Piano", but this was so tight.

  6. #6

    Re: WAY OT - Desert Island Discs

    OK, one CD/work per composer:

    1. BACH : violinconcertos
    2. BEETHOVEN: Symphony nr. 7
    3. BRUCH: violinconcerto
    4. CHOPIN: all his Ballades
    5. LISZT: Transcedental Etudes
    6. PROKOFIEV: Pianoconcertos
    7. SCHUBERT: Sonatas
    8. SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony nr. 10
    9. TCHAIKOVKSY: Symphony nr. 6
    10. VERDI: Pezzi Sacri

    See you at that Island. Oh, I forgot Harry Belafonte's "Island in the sun"


  7. #7

    Re: WAY OT - Desert Island Discs

    Wow, I'd find it so hard if this was for real:-

    1) Rite of Spring
    2) The Empire Strikes Back (is a double CD allowed?)
    3) 3 Movements From Petrouchka - Pollini's recording
    4) Goldberg Variations - Glenn Gould's first recording
    5) John Taverner's 'The Protecting Veil'
    6) Mozart's Requiem
    7) Bartok's 2nd Piano Concerto
    8) Tom Waits 'Mule Variations'
    9) Gesualdo's Responses for Easter Weekend
    10) The Messiah

    10a) Ligeti's Requiem / Verdi's Requiem / Ligeti's Horn Trio

  8. #8

    Re: WAY OT - Desert Island Discs

    Quote Originally Posted by ejr View Post
    ...Your MIKADO adaptation reminded me a lot of the Joseph Papp revival of PIRATES OF PENZANCE, which unabashedly used synths, saxes and all manor of percussion. Nicely done.
    Spot on! Previous to my synth adaptation of "The Mikado," I did one of the entire "Pirates" score, directly inspired by the Papp version. I was, and still am, enamored of that updated approach to the music which I think Sir Arthur may possibly even approve of. I completely agree with you, that "The Mikado" is the best G&S work, and they said as much themselves.
    Quote Originally Posted by ejr View Post
    Beatles...I just didn't feel that any of their albums was cohesive enough to regard as a single composition...I chose CANDIDE over WEST SIDE STORY...He spent much more time on it...
    Lol!--I thought you didn't want to debate choices. According to My rules, the cumulative cuts which comprise a single LP are a single work, so "Sgt. Peppers" "Revolver" "Let it Be," and albums from any other pop/rock group I like - many produced by Procol Harum, Emerson Lake and Palmer et al, would all qualify for my Desert Island list, even if they wouldn't qualify for yours--!

    As for Bernstein, I like "Candide" very much and know the newer complete version. But how much time anyone has spent on composing a work has nothing to do with how much I appreciate or respond to it. "West Side Story" has a very special, personal meaning for me because of productions I saw, and the one I was in. It's on my list because I can't imagine any other stage musical supplanting it in my heart, hence it's on My list, not yours.

    Really enjoy reading the new lists on the thread. Of course Mozart and Beethoven are always popping up. There's music I enjoy and love from both, but not enough for me to not live without. No argument about their inclusion - I wouldn't ever argue with anyone's preference for Anything, let alone music.

    Absolutely go mad with Pingu's inclusion of Tom Waits--! God I love Tom Waits.


  9. #9

    Re: WAY OT - Desert Island Discs

    My hope is we will land on the same island.
    Lot of good music is guaranteed, but what about
    a veeeeeeeeeeeery loooooooong power cord?
    Arrigo Beyle / Milanese / Lived, wrote, loved -- Stendhal
    Being Italian is a full-time job -- B. Severgnini

  10. #10

    Re: WAY OT - Desert Island Discs

    Quote Originally Posted by fabiolcati View Post
    My hope is we will land on the same island.
    Lot of good music is guaranteed, but what about
    a veeeeeeeeeeeery loooooooong power cord?

    Hey...pssst..... If we are to cheat and go all together on the same island... what about one of us bringing no music... but rather a "Bob", instead? You know... "BOB".... "mmbbObb"
    I say this is quite a "cunning plan"

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