The British Broadcasting Corporation has a well-loved programme which is older than me! It's Desert Island Discs
which has been broadcast weekly on Radio 4 since 1942 with but three presenter-hosts in that time.
The premise is simplicity itself: guests are invited to imagine themselves castaways on a desert island, and to choose eight pieces of music to take with them; discussion of their choices permits a review of their life. Aside from music, they are permitted one book, excluding the Bible or other religious work and the complete works of Shakespeare, which are already present on the island to force more original choices. They also choose one luxury which must be inanimate and of no survival value, though large supplies of champagne seem to be allowed.
It's an intriguing proposition, and some 3,000 plus interesting folk have had their extra half hour of fame. One example is the late lamented DJ John Peel, and the transcript of his session can be read here
, a session of great variety reflecting his influence on the British youth of his, and my, generation.
What, of course, makes this interesting is that there will be few Brits who haven't idly made up their own list. And not only Brits. Apparently Britain's arch-enemy Adolph Hitler
made one; he probably didn't consider that some of his favourite musical artists were Jewish and/or Russian.Five discs that Hitler wanted to take with him.
1. Piano sonatas, Opus 78 and 90, Beethoven
2. Wagner’s overture to The Flying Dutchman by the Bayreuth Orchestra, conducted by Heinz Tietjen
3. Russian arias, including the death in Boris Godunov, by Mussorgsky, sung by the Russian bass Fyodor Shalyapin
4. Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, with the Berlin State Opera Orchestra, soloist Bronislaw Huberman
5. Mozart Piano Sonata No 8 in A minor with Artur Schnabel
It could also be instructive to have a look at the playlists of Obama and McCain
, then decide who you'd prefer as a president of the God 'Ol U.S.of A.
I have spent a few nights on 'desert islands' and lived off the land (and, of course, sea), which meant that there were plentiful fish and coconuts to be caught. I enjoy my own company, but can't say that I've been a castaway because there were fellow travellers with me, and if I were alone, I'm not sure that I'd want music with me to stir memories of an unattainable past.
But if fate and fame call, then needs must.
This has been the first in a Sunday series which will continue until I've given my all and chosen just a few of my 200 gigabytes of sounds.
You have been warned.
Labels: Desert Island Discs