Well here we are at the eighth and final music choice for my time on a desert island. The BBC’s radio programme, running since 1942, invites an individual to talk about his or her life, to imagine they’re alone on the island, and to choose eight discs that mean something special to them and which they’d like to listen to in their solitude. After that they’re asked which of them they would pick if they could only have one disc. And they’re allowed a copy of the Bible or other religious text, the complete works of Shakespeare, and one other book of their choice. Lastly they can have a luxury item.
So for today the eighth music piece.
Why did I choose the other seven? They’re all personal, as they should be. The beautiful Benedictus quartet from the Mozart Requiem gave me that rare, unforgettable flush of excitement and pleasure when I sang it in Saudi Arabia. Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ was the voice of youth, joy and freedom that I missed so much in the Middle East. Elgar’s ‘Dream’ was a lifetime favourite after I sang it as a teenager and then some years ago in the Royal Festival Hall. Bach’s B Minor Mass, that majestic work, fiercely difficult to learn and the last one I performed in public. The Loeki Stardust recorder music – memories of playing (nowhere near so well), and the fun that went with it. Boëllmann’s Suite Gothique, a familiar example of that stupendous instrument, the organ. And Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis – mood, atmosphere, dreams and with me everywhere for 50 years since student days.
So these would be comforting, uplifting, nostalgic, joyful on my desert island. What’s missing? I decided it was laughter. It’s important to laugh. The Reader’s Digest, which I’ve not read since I was a boy, always had a section ‘Laughter, the Best Medicine’, and I’ve certainly found that true in the last 18 months. Alone on my island, a giggle would do wonders. But what music makes me laugh?
This is it. I crease up whenever I play it. It’s vocal, a female singer, and it’s light classical. She has a good, versatile voice. She’s accomplished, and she sings well.
Did I say “sings”? She yodels. My disc is Mary Schneider: Yodelling the Classics and here is the first track, her Yodelling Overtures, on video. Enjoy, admire and, I hope, have a giggle with me.