Desert Island Discs

November 11, 2007 at 03:35 AM · If you were stuck on an island, and had only one CD to listen to, which CD would you want it to be?

My pick would be Hilary Hahn's recording of the Bach Violin Concertos. If I could have a two CD set, then it would be the Podger/Pinnock, recording of the Bach Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord.

Replies (39)

November 11, 2007 at 05:48 PM · Either Julia Fischer's Russian Violin Concertos or the recording of Mendelssohn piano trios she did with Daniel Mueller-Schott and Jonathan Gilad.

November 11, 2007 at 07:34 PM · It's a double, and doesn't have much to do with violins, but Duke Ellington "Beyond Category" would sure keep me satisfied for a long time.

A good Joe Venuti / Stuff Smith compilation wouldn't be bad, either.

November 12, 2007 at 12:57 AM · What a cruel question! One CD only, augh!!!

While I would initially jump for Josh Bell with Essa Pekka Salonen's Sibelius VC (the Goldmark VC is included as well), I might have to opt for something I don't quite "get" yet. Like the later Bartok quartets or some late Beethoven, maybe Takacs performing 130, 131, and 132. Something to chew on. Something you would really get to listen to and learn from.

Face it, you're going to go mad on a desert island, so might as well be some brooding thought-provoking music to accompany you down that path.

Or, wait. Maybe the reverse is true. In that case, I'd have to go with Andre Rieu's Greatest Viennese Hits. Or Elmo and Sesame Street Sings Broadway Favorites in Really High Voices.

November 12, 2007 at 01:46 AM · What about if you could only take one violinist with you?

November 12, 2007 at 04:21 AM · I would take that violinist...and Anner Bylsma's solo Bach.

November 12, 2007 at 04:22 AM · Greetings,

Glenn Gould- Goldberg Variations (1st version).

Or, a disc that has a selection of artists playing medium lenthg pieces. Or Szigeti playing the Beethoven with Bruno Walter conducting.



November 12, 2007 at 04:35 AM · >What about if you could only take one violinist with you?

Ooooh, dang. You've given me something to dream about tonight.

November 12, 2007 at 05:48 AM · Funny, Stephen--I'd take the later Gould Goldberg as my #1! And Camilla Wicks w/Bruno on Beethoven.

November 12, 2007 at 05:52 AM · Greetings,

bring on the clones!;)

I`ve become really fussy about the Beethoven over the years. I`m sure it has as much to do with personal preference as anytthing else, but I often find a real mismatch between the pitch of even many great soloits and the orchestra in this work and it sets my teeth on edge. The players who don`t do this are Heifetz, Szigeti, Kreisler and probably Milstein although I haven`t heard him for years in this work.I favor the Szigeti recoridng because somehow he seems ot be speaking rather than singing through his playing. Don`t know if that makes sense.



November 12, 2007 at 06:12 AM · "he seems to be speaking rather than playing"--that makes perfect sense and is often the impression I get from Szigeti. I learned how to play parlando from listening to him...

You know that spot in his recording of the Debussy sonata with Bartok, the 2/4 section in the first movement with the portato 8th notes played sul tasto? The first time I heard that I think my heart stopped temporarily--I've never heard a violin sound so much like a human voice.

November 12, 2007 at 06:26 AM · After you paid me and my homies to build a utility company to power your CD players,,,I'd move there and take...Ansermet/L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande doing Swan Lake, besides being a great and unaffected performance it sounds like it's being played on gut, if that makes sense. Maybe Milstein's old recording of Beethoven 9 & 8. Or something by H.H. to remind me of civilization, or maybe an original 78 of Uncle Dave Macon's Beloved Solo, for the same reason. If only it wasn't on banjo. I'm tempted to do something about that.

November 12, 2007 at 12:27 PM · On an island I'd want something that was "genial" and at the same time stimulated the imagination, and most importantly, that I love listening to. My answer: Mahler's Seventh, conducted by either Bertini or Svetlanov (the 2 recordings of this work that I have).

November 12, 2007 at 12:54 PM · Oistrack playing Brahms and Franck's sonatas with Sviatoslav Richter... But I would prefer having a violin, a bow and many string sets...

And I would like to have my wood stock and tools, so that I could make some instruments in the Isle too!!!

And a Tropical Isle, if possible...

November 12, 2007 at 11:57 PM · Pachelbel's canon.

November 12, 2007 at 11:59 PM · I`d shoot myself with it.

November 13, 2007 at 12:27 AM · A mix CD I made for the birth of my daughter...a little of everything. Bach Goldberg Variations and violin concerti, Brahms violin sonatas, Lalo, Scarlatti and Handel for piano, etc.

November 13, 2007 at 01:07 AM · >Pachelbel's canon.

AUUUUUGGGGGHHHH!!!!! ((Dives into the water after an hour's torture and begins to swim in the direction of the nearest shore, three days away.))

November 13, 2007 at 01:27 AM · Exactly. And praying for a hungry shark as well.

November 13, 2007 at 01:23 AM · My answer is now (and has always been) the Beethoven Violin Concerto, that 1950 great, great performance by Zino Francescatti accompanied by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra. It is a studio recording but was done in one take. It's got everything you'd ever want in a musical selection, a violinist's performance, and an orchestral accompaniment - plus heart. After over 50 years of listening to it, I'll still take it over any other performance (and I do love the great ones - Oistrakh, Szigeti, Heifetz, Menuhin, and some of the newer generation).

What I definitely WOULD NOT take on a desert island would be Handel's Firewater Music, La Mer, or The Fountains of Rome.

:) Sandy

November 13, 2007 at 04:09 AM · The Joshua Tree.

November 13, 2007 at 04:07 AM · Good one, T! Joshua Tree has a kind of timeless slot in my life, too.

November 13, 2007 at 10:40 AM · Only one CD ... Tough one.

I imagine myself, minutes before the departure, brooding over my recordings of the Sonatas and Partitas, unable to decide if I should take Szeryng, Milstein, Grumiaux or HH.

And then, I see myself walking on board, Milstein's Goldmark concerto firmly in my hand.

Only, I wouldn't survive -- that recording makes me want to practice so hard, that I would serve myself to the sharks after a few days (except I might be allowed to take my sea-climate proof travel Guarneri along, of course).



November 14, 2007 at 12:24 AM · Anything with no Bach in it.

November 14, 2007 at 01:25 AM · Gee,

you won`t have any coconut trees....

November 19, 2007 at 03:13 AM · Brahms 4th....Solti and Chicago !

November 19, 2007 at 04:46 AM · Definitely not Bolero.

November 19, 2007 at 05:57 AM · unless Bo Derek was part of the package...

November 19, 2007 at 06:18 AM · I'd probably want Gil Shaham playing the Barber and the Korngold. :)

November 19, 2007 at 06:26 AM · perlman cinema serenade

November 19, 2007 at 09:17 AM · Grumiaux, the encores album!

November 19, 2007 at 07:39 PM · Try: Bach St. Mat (mix of Kemperer, Richter, Solti); Barber vn con Hahn; Beethoven vn con live Milstein-Maazel & Spring son live Milstin-Balsom; Bruckner 9th (mix of Jochum, Walter, Tintner); Debussy vn son Szigeti-Bartok & all Michelangeli; Mozart vn son (Heifetz, Milstein, Hahn, Shaham, Zimmermanm). Mendelssohn trios-Mirecourt Trio; Schubert songs (Otter, Quasthoff) & 8th sym-Sinopoli

November 19, 2007 at 09:46 PM · 2 others to consider are: F.P. Zimmermann's Prokofiev album with both VCs and VS No. 2 (real nice); and Ehnes, the Korngold, Barber and Walton VCs (I love his Barber and Walton, maybe Perlman still edges him out a bit on the Korngold).

November 19, 2007 at 10:36 PM · Yuri Bashmet's recording of Styx and Sofia Gubaidulina's Viola concerto!!!!

November 20, 2007 at 03:29 AM · I hope I also can have a CD Player (with batteries). If I will stuck on the island forever, I would like to hear Mozart's requiem.

November 21, 2007 at 05:39 AM · What a hodge podge of tastes, from Mahler's 7th to Pachelbel's canonic piece of Baroque kitsch, to U2. (Me too; but I thought we were talking 4 strings, not 6.) Someone even said "anything with no Bach".

Whereas to me the obvious answer is "the perfect Bach recording by the perfect violinist". But which is that? Probably the two Oistrakhs playing the C major trio sonata. But that doesn't make a whole disk, and I only have one to choose from... So, David Oistrakh and Hans Pischner playing the six sonatas for violin and harpsichord. I know, I know, you're going to insist that by my criteria it would have to be the first Milstein recording of the sonatas and partitas. But I like my Bach straight; so if it's the sonatas and partitas it would probably be Szerying. And I can't spent the rest of my life listening to Szerying when I know Oistrakh exists. And he only made a complete recording of one of the Bach sonatas. Hmmmm....

November 21, 2007 at 04:00 PM · Kenneth:

ONLY one? Okay, but on condition that I can bring along 9 additional "works" on vinyl, limited to one per composer.


1. Bach: Sonatas and Partitas with Szeryng(the second version on DGG - far better sound)

2. Mozart: Complete Piano Sonatas with Glenn Gould

3. Beethoven: Late Quartets with Guarneri

4. Brahms: Clarinet Quintet with Schiffrin and Emerson

5. Wagner: Parsifal with James Levine, Jesse Norman, Placido Domingo, etc.

6. Bruckner: 9th Symphony with Boulez and Vienna

7. Mahler: 9th Symphony with Boulez and Chicago

8. Debussy: La Mer with Boulez and Cleveland

9. Stravinsky: Le Sacre with Boulez and Cleveland


1. Elvis:"You Ain't Nothin But a Hound Dog"

November 21, 2007 at 08:55 PM · One is not enough :)

Beethoven - last five quartets (Guarneri Quartet & Quarteto Italiano)

Mozart- Die Zauberflote (Klemperer, Popp, Gedda)

Mahler Symphony No. 2 (Klemperer , Walter or Bernstein)

Bach S&P - Milstein or Szyerng

Brahms - Symphony No. 4 Kleiber/Vienna Phil

If I had to pick one it would be the Beethoven Quartets...

November 21, 2007 at 10:45 PM · The 2-disc set "Masters of the Bow" would keep me pretty content, as long as the island had an unlimited supply of microbrew.

November 24, 2007 at 04:31 PM · I think we all need to bring our mp3 players! I don't think I could pick just one CD. I too like the Masters of the Bow CD- it has enough variety to last a while, I also love HH's Mozart Sonata CD, and I'd want at least half of my string quartet collection...

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