Sunday, 1 August 2010

My 100 best...

Pondering further on the list of 100 things I like about my country, I remembered a radio programme from many years ago. It must be about 50 years since Alan Keith broadcast a series of programmes in which he played records of his 100 best tunes. For "best" (which is what he called them) read "favourite". The tunes were, in the main, popular classics. His programmes spawned a number of long playing records each being a compilation of twenty or so of those tunes, as well as a second series of programmes in which he played the 100 best tunes as voted for by listeners.

There is no way that I would even attempt to produce a list of my 100 favourite tunes, let alone place them in order. My choice would depend very much on the mood I was in on the day I drew up my list, but there are a few tunes which would feature in my list no matter what my mood. Some would be classical orchestral pieces such as Nimrod from Elgar's Enigma Variations, the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana, the second movement of Dvorak's symphony no 9, the Grand March from Aida or the second movement of Mozart's clarinet concerto. Some would be operatic choruses - the Hallelujah chorus from the Messiah, the humming chorus from Madam Butterfly. Some would be traditional jazz, like Basin Street Blues or Petite Fleur - and I could never leave out Peggy Lee's Mr Wonderful or Harry Belafonte and Island in the Sun. Abba would have to feature, as would the Carpenters. There are just so many tunes I like that I wouldn't really know where to begin. And my list would have include what I consider to be the greatest love song of all time - Danny Boy. I see that I have no fewer than six CDs with this song on them. Three are played by Glenn Miller as instrumentals and the others are sung by Judith Durham (of The Seekers), Charlotte Church, Eva Cassidy, Mary O'Hara and Roisin O'Reilly. The best of those is Roisin O'Reilly.

If I can't produce my 100 tunes, how, I wonder, would I fare on another radio programme which is still running? I mean Desert Island Discs. Each half-hour show features a celebrity who has to imagine being cast away on a desert island. Somehow the celebrity will have eight records (and something on which to play them) as well as one "luxury". But how to select just eight tunes? No way could I do it.

Anyway, I'm off to play a few CDs. Now, which one will be first? Shall it be James Last, or would I prefer the soundtrack from west Side Story? Or maybe the Very Best of the Royal Marines?


Suldog said...

On the subject of recordings taken to a desert island, you might find the following of interest (though I doubt too many of the choices will match what you might choose, from what I was able to glean from this post!)

Brighton Pensioner said...

Jim, interesting to read why you chose the discs you did. And your taste is obviously just about as eclectic as mine.