My Desert Island Musical Passages

Greg Mitchell’s HuffPo piece on Beethoven’s legendary 1808 concert (written about by Bonnie yesterday) generated a lively discussion by a very engaged and informed Huffington Post audience.

Some are challenging Mitchell’s assertion of Beethoven as the greatest composer, including this eloquent Bach defense from Joe-the-Historian, who wishes he could follow Bach on his visit to C.P.E. at the court of Frederick the Great and hear him try out every keyboard and organ in town. While I’d like to follow Joe on this time-travel adventure, I do agree with Mitchell. Beethoven is the greatest composer for his sheer breadth, among other things.

Others are discussing their favorite works, movement by movement, and offering their favorite performances. I appreciate jl4141’s reminder of the effective use of the Pastoral symphony for Edward G. Robinson’s voluntary euthanasia scene in Soylent Green. (Unknown to everyone except acting partner Charlton Heston, Robinson was in the final weeks of his life at the time of filming.)

One participant, the excellent-named Magister Ludi, offered this intriguing desert island list, and it got me thinking not of desert island discs, but of specific desert island moments:

Magister Ludi’s 5 CDs for the deserted island:

1. Goldberg Variations -Glenn Gould ( both);
2.Stravinsky- Le Sacre- Boulez;
3. Adams-Nixon in China;
4. Mozart-Die Zauberflöte.
5: Shostakovitch-The Nose.

Stand bys:

1.Bach St John’s Passion
2.Berio- Sinfonia. w/Boulez- Swingle Singers

So, without further ado…

John Gibbons’s Desert Island Musical Passages

  1. Beethoven: C Sharp Minor String Quartet, introduction to the Finale (6th movement) 
    1. Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro, Figaro’s denial in the Finale to Act II.
    2. Stravinsky: The Rake’s Progress, the Bedlam scene at the conclusion of the opera, featuring Ann Truelove’s lullaby “Gently, Little Boat” with the words of W.H. Auden and/or Chester Kallman
    3. Beethoven: Fidelio, the divided low strings in “Mir is so wunderbar”
    4. Wagner: Die Walkure, Act Two, “Siegmund, Sieh auf mich!” Siegmund telling Brunhilde where she can go with her invitation to Valhalla, Act Two. This is my greatest moment, preferably performed by Jon Vickers or Siegriend Jerusalem.
      • Listen on Rhapsody - (Vickers, Crespin - scroll down to Disc 3, Track 3)
      • Listen on Rhapsody (Jerusalem, Altmeyer - scroll down to Disc 5, Track 1)
        Rhapsody offers 25 free tracks per month without registering, but you’ll need to disable your popup blocker.

     

      I hope the thread will continue a little while. Other than that, points for cleverness go to this exchange:

      ARonHenry : Beethoven was the Bob Dylan of his times.

      MagisterLudi : BOB Dylan is the Johann Nepomuk Hummel of our times.