It’s the fifth and I’m going to cheat a little.
A reminder for those who don’t know Desert Island Discs, the BBC radio programme that started in 1942 since when over 3000 episodes have been aired. Each week a guest is imagined as a castaway on a desert island, is encouraged to talk about his or her life, and is asked to name eight pieces of music that mean something special to them, and then explain why. It’s not a test of musical knowledge; the programme is about their lives, and why each of their choices is so important. For example someone might include a folk song that their mother used to sing. It’s highly personal.
Well, mine is of an album and, cheating the rules, I’d like to offer two tracks as this one DID-5 choice.
As a young teenager at secondary school I learned to play the treble recorder … somewhat … wasn’t that interested. Twenty years later I picked it up again, branching out to alto, tenor and bass recorders. It was in Saudi Arabia, a country largely dry of western culture where we performed illegal concerts featuring mainly choral and instrumental items but occasionally a recorder quartet, four friends including two from the Netherlands. Here’s a picture of yours truly in one of the concerts. We weren’t great quality – slow classical, slow Scott Joplin, and in one performance The Teddy Bears’ Picnic – but it was fun and was unusual and was appreciated.
Years later when I was back in Britain one of the Dutch friends gave me the CD Extra Time by the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet and it has become a favourite since then, reminding me of our attempts – hopelessly amateur compared with the Loeki four – to make quality sounds with those instruments.
To be honest I’m not a great fan of the recorder, but this music means a lot. We practiced hard, we did our best, we gave pleasure believe it or not, and we enjoyed it. And the Loeki show me how good it can really be. They also have fun.
Here are two tracks: Brandenburg 3, and The Pink Panther.