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Monday, 01 December 2014


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Eight pieces of music for a deserted island.
-"Prince of Denmark's March" by any capable conductor. I have requested this piece be played when I enter certain buildings. No luck yet.

-"Amazing Grace" by any pipe and drum band. If this doesn't bring tears, nothing will. The island might be very deserted.

-"Fanfare for the Common Man" Aaron Copland. I might get off the island?

-"Hallelujah Chorus" Handel. I might very well be the only one to stand.

-"Toccata and Fugue in D minor" by JS Bach, played by organist, the late E. Power Biggs.

-"Ghost Riders In the Sky" by Johnny Cash. Yes I have stepped down.

-"Will the Circle be Unbroken" by Maybelle Carter. My situation might be in doubt.

-"Peace in the Valley" by Elvis Presley. If the inevitable is at hand.

"Beethoven's Ninth" despite the bloody EU nicking the Choral. There's a good version conducted by Barenboim out there.

Claudio Abbado has a great album of "Rossini's Overtures" and

Ronaldo Alessandrini has a pretty good album of "Mozart's Overtures"

Allegri's "Miserere mei, Deus" because I'll need a bit of mercy. The version by the great mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca is favorite though the version by the choir of New College Oxford also does it for me and if one wants to be light blue there's always King's College Cambridge.

So now I need some Verdi. If we're sticking to albums then there's a Traviata one that only has the arias that feature Violetta, with Netrebco, Villazon and Hampson in the main roles, though if I can have the DVD, I'll have the Richard Eyre version as performed at the RoH with Gheorghiu as Violetta.

So while were on Opera, we better have "il Barbiere di Seville" and

"La Nozze di Figaro"

And just in case I end my day's there, I think Verdi can provide the Requiem. We'll go for Herbert von Karajan conducting La Scala Orchestra and Chorus of Milano with Luciano Pavarotti, Leontyne Price, Fiorenza Cossotto and Nikolai Ghiaurov.

Well thanks for asking David, (you did ask didn't you?), but maybe eight isn't enough since I didn't get round to my jazz and pop requests. Perhaps if you can set me up with a solar powered laptop with free wi-fi and an Amazon account?

As soon as I published mine, I thought of a couple more but 8 is the limit.

What, no Junior See Poy?

Oh he's good, Andra, no doubt about that but even he, I think, would bow the head respectfully to the MJQ.

Dammit, Kevin, I forgot Allegri's "Miserere mei, Deus". Absolutely gorgeous - didn't they use it as the background to one of le Carré's spy stories on TV? Anyway, it reeks of medieval church music to me and reminds me of plain song which I love. Alas, for me the next musical period of the baroque rarely appeals.

As for Baroque, it can get a bit stately, though Dido's Lament from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas is quite moving and the version of Handel's Lascia Ch'io Pianga from the movie Farinelli can certainly make the old eyes water, though possibly for the wrong reason.

And eight definitely ain't enough. I didn't even have room for any Puccini.

Allegri's "Miserere mei, Deus" should be like the Bible and Shakespeare, although I would want to take Dawkins' "The Greatest Show on earth" as my 'Bible'.

I would have :-

"Most highly flavoured Lady".....sorry, "Gabriel's Message" by Rutter

"Skinny Love" - Birdy's version.

"Heart of Courage" - the version with Avon's speech from "Star One" over the top of it.

"Full Circle" by Lorena McKinnet (having this at my funeral, everyone will be in tears).

"In paradism" by Adiemus

"Love Love" by Take That

"Let me get what I want" - yes, the John Lewis advert.

"Coffee Homeground" by Kate Bush - too many Kate bush records to choose from, I really need "The Kick Inside" and "Room for the life" And "Wow". And "Hammer Horror". And "Delius".

Books : Mary Renault, the Alexander Trilogy (can that count as one book)?

Luxury : X Box and Skyrim. I'd be telling rescuers to go away.

Miss Mayfly, you avoid any strictures from me on your choices because I have never heard of most of them but there is one glaring exception - Dawkins! He and his abominable works are banned from what is now *my* desert island! No, no, I will not be moved, anyone struggling ashore with a book by Dawkins will be thrust back in the sea - and there's an end on't!

It's YOUR island? I thought it was anyone's island! I'll pick the island next door then, and whilst I'm taking a (short) break from killing dragons, I'll read you exerts, lol! Look, at least that way you'll be driven into building a boat to get away from me.

So what would be your other book then? I'm guessing a military history or a comedy.

You would at least be set for life, attempting to direct the gulls and crabs in a "Duff Version of 'The Tempest'"......

David, I sense you had better not cross swords with Mayfly for too long.

No, no, Whitewall, she acted as my stage manager and when I gave orders - she ignored all of them, so at least she was consistent!

Actually, Mayfly, I had forgotten the book and for the life of me sitting here I cannot think which one to take. Anyway, with WS's complete works who needs anything else?

I resent that! I seem to remember being forced to wear a House Maid's outfit whilst balancing a heavy metal helmet on my head - on your orders!

This doesn’t sound good, does it?…..We had to do a visual set change for “Travesties” and David wanted us wearing something which would seem sort of normal but jarred at the same time. I tell you, greater love hath no man…er, woman…..

Now that’s cheating. I would take a great many more books, if I were able to say, “I just can’t choose”. Stephen King for example....

For God's sake, Mayfly, have a care! The ways in which I asked you to dress up, back in the day, is strictly between the two of us! They're a dirty minded lot who read this blog! Also, the 'Memsahib' dips into this blog too, well, only every five years or so but you can't be too careful!

As for the book, since you force me to it, I think Gibbon's 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'.

Back to 'Travesties', what a great play that was to work on - one of Stoppard's greatest.

And by the way, I have just found a photo of 'James Joyce' (Derek Stringer) startling 'Tristan Tzara (Matthew Good) by producing 'Gemima' the rabbit from his hat! God, that rabbit had star quality!

Listen you two, I am still stuck on the House Maid's outfit and heavy metal helmet for a crown? That sounds like something a director would do to a young woman when no body else was around. I'm shocked!

The whole thing was a travesty, Whitewall!

You mean the rabbit out acted Derek? She was a lovely rabbit, despite going through the trauma of being in a live show.

Did you not enjoy "Travesties"? I heard you vehemently defending it at one point, in later years. Ah well, water under the bridge.

Whitewall, I can assure you that the entire audience saw me in costume, the one and only time I will appear in 'garb' rather than the traditional black. And that was nothing compared with what went on behind the scenes....You may like to know that the said Matthew Good did spend one play where he came off stage, was leapt on by two ASM's and was then stripped down to his underwear. He was playing a twin, and had to appear on the other side of the stage in a different costume, looking calm and debonair in about 2 minutes. I LOVE playwrights who put bits in their plays to just make life difficult for the back stage staff. I think Shakespeare started it with his, "Exeunt, pursued by a bear". We always say that a play would be far easier if it had no actors in it.

David - still need a luxury (ducks)!

I *loved* 'Travesties'! I had never seen it before I directed it and it was a real test to try and match Stoppard's inventiveness. And Chris Bullen was terrific as 'Lenin' and I shall always be grateful to him for shaving back the hair on the front of his scalp so that he really was a dead ringer for the ghastly man!

By the way, my truly favourite play from Stoppard or anyone else, 'Arcadia', is on tour and opening in Bath early next year.

Mayfly, that is a relief to hear, as I was thinking all sorts of wild things. I had no idea props and costumes could require that level of vigor. For me and acting, believe it or not, I do have a knack and a keen sense of timing for comedy! Drama has gotten the better of me however and I avoid.

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