Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Music, maestro, please

I really have no idea what triggered the memory, but towards the end of last week I found myself thinking about a radio programme that was broadcast 50+ years ago. It was aired on Sunday evenings, probably between 9 and 10. The presenter (Alan Keith?) had produced a list of what he called his hundred best tunes and it was these that he played in the programme, 'My Hundred Best Tunes'. They were classical pieces such as 'Nimrod' from Elgar's 'Enigma Variations', the 'Grand March' from Verdi's 'Aida' and so on. Whether it was suggested on the programme or whether listeners just did it anyway I don't know, but people compiled their own lists and sent them in. Later, these lists were amalgamated to produce another series of programmes called 'Your Hundred Best Tunes'. A series of LPs was brought out and over time I collected most if not all of them. I no longer have the records (donated to the Lions book shop) but have built up a collection of CD compilations of this type of music.

I'm starting to wander off the point, which is that I can't think how to begin compiling a list of my hundred best tunes. No, that's not true: I could start easily enough, and I might get to 80 or so tunes, but then I would have to wonder if a particular tunes should be in the top 100 or if it is really about 105. And as for putting the top 100 into order of preference, I couldn't possibly - not even using my old teacher's method. So much depends on what mood I'm in. One day my favourite might be, say, the intermezzo from 'Cavalleria Rusticana' whereas the next day it might be 'When the Saints Go Marching In' by Chris Barber or Peggy Lee singing 'Mr Wonderful'.

And as for that other radio programme where people play their favourite tunes! I'm referring to a show that has been broadcast for many years and is, I think, still going strong: 'Desert Island Discs'. During the course of the half-hour show, a celebrity is interviewed and has to say why he has chosen the eight records that he would wish to have with him if he were to be marooned on a desert island. I'm not sure how he would be expected to play records on a desert island, but if I had just eight, I'm sure I would be driven mad by playing them over and over again.

Anyway, I've had one of those brainwaves I get occasionally. My collection of CDs covers military music, classical instrumental and vocal, easy listening instrumental and vocal, trad jazz, musicals, and sundry other genres. But sometimes I want a particular track or song, and I can't remember which CD has it, so I waste an enormous amount of time searching through them. Easy enough if what I want is 'Tonight' from the soundtrack recording of 'West Side Story' (my all-time favourite musical), but not quite so easy if I can't remember who sung the song! So, my brainwave was that I should index my CD collection, using a spreadsheet to list track names, performer, and CD title.

As I said, I get these brainwaves from time to time. Often, I find that after I have started the job (scanning my slides into the computer, for instance) I either lose interest or heart or realise that there really is no point anyway. It will be interesting to see how far I get this time.

1 comment:

Uncle Skip, said...

At least it will keep you out of the street :)