Friday, April 20, 2012

An invitation to list your desert island repertoire

I have to admit I love reading lists like "The Top 50 Movies of All Time," or "The 10 Most Important Inventions of the 20th Century."  It doesn't matter if I agree or disagree with the choices - it is fun to compare my choices with someone else's.  So I thought I'd make my own list (and invite you to submit your own) of the following: if I could listen to only one piece by each of the great composers for the rest of my life, which one piece would I choose?  I might have a different answer to this question next year, or maybe even tomorrow.  One observation about this list: there is very little piano music!  I should point out this is not a list of what I would PLAY if I could only play one piece, but what I would listen to, and I honestly find it hard to listen to piano music strictly for pleasure.

So here it is, in something approaching chronological order:

Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos (don't make me choose one!)
Mozart: Don Giovanni (OK, maybe choosing an entire opera is cheating)
Beethoven: Symphony #7
Schubert: Quintet in C major
Chopin: Polonaise-Fantasy (if I learn it I probably won't want to listen anymore)
Schumann: Dichterliebe
Wagner: The Ring Cycle (I know, I know, it's 4 whole operas - guess I'd take Gotterdammerung if I had to)
Brahms: Symphony #4
Tchaikovsky: Symphony #6
Dvorak: Cello Concerto
Mahler: Symphony #4
R. Strauss: Ein Heldenleben
Debussy: String Quartet
Ravel: La Valse (by a hair, over Daphnis and Chloe)
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto #3 (again, a piece I haven't actually played)
Stravinsky: Firebird
Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto #1
Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra
Schoenberg: Verklaerte Nacht

Please feel free to post your own list in the comments!


Daniel Jepson said...

OK, I'll try:

Mozart - Requiem and/or C Minor Mass
Beethoven - Op. 18 quartets, last five piano sonatas, 9th Symphony, Grosse Fuge
Schubert - Impromptus (D. 142 if I had to pick one set)
Chopin - Etudes and F minor Concerto
Liszt - B minor Sonata
Bizet - Carmen
Brahms - Intermezzo Op. 118 No. 2 and Clarinet Quintet
Balakirev - Piano Sonata
Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 2
Mahler - Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 and 6
Strauss - Allerseelen, and some of his other best songs
Ravel - Concerto for the Left Hand
Rachmaninov - Cello Sonata and Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini
Prokofiev - "War" Sonatas
C-M. Schonberg - Les Miserables

No Debussy on your list? I was a little surprised by my own failure to find room for him on this list - ditto Scriabin.

Daniel Jepson said...

Wow, not sure how I missed your Debussy first time around - I guess it's past my bedtime.

tae said...

i subtracted and added my own composers...

Bach: goldberg
Mozart: requiem
Beethoven: symphony 9 (i want to sneak the op.130 in there.. the original with grosse fuge ending of course :D )
Schumann: dichterliebe (i have to go with you on this one, i mean, wow. W.O.W. but cello concerto comes VERY CLOSE second, and his third string quartet for close third)
Brahms: variations on an original theme op. 21 no.1
Bruckner: symphony 7 (this might be temporary, but i'm SOOO obsessed with this piece right now)
Alkan: 3 grande etudes, op.76
Tchaikovsky: symphony 6 (again, i love this piece. i won't be the first one to say it, but if it wasn't for this, i don't know if mahler would've existed..)
Mahler: symphony 9
R. Strauss: ein heldenleben (hands down, the best strauss piece EVER)
Granados: goyescas (ALL OF THEM!)
Skryabin: first movement of the second sonata
Hindemith: kammermusik no.4 for violin and small orchestra (i know i know, but i love this concerto!)
Vaughn-Williams: Silent noon
Shostakovich: piano quintet (it was either this one or symphony 8. but i couldn't get over the intermezzo from the quintet)
Glass: mad rush

onentrance said...

Hi, Max, the thing that jumps out at me from your list is that...they're all dead!