Here are a few of my all time favourite recordings, they are my top picks for various reasons, from musical reasons to the fact that I listened to one particular CD a lot during a significant period in my life.
1. Bach cantatas (Ich habe genug and Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut); Lorraine Hunt Lieberson singing with The Orchestra of Emmanuel Music (nonsuch records). I have to include some Bach! One of my most vivid and special musical memories is Lorraine Hunt (as she was then), singing so exquisitely with the ACO.
2. Ginette Neveu ‘The First Recordings’ (EMI). When I was a teenager, I was given a box set of LPs of Ginette Neveu’s complete recordings. I fell in love with her sound and playing. This CD is taken from that set and has a few little violin encore-type pieces from when she was 18 or 19. My particular favourite is the Chopin Nocturne in C sharp minor. Of course, her Tzigane and Sibelius concertos are some of my faves too. This CD has the recordings of Josef Hassid on it (also wonderful).
3. A jazz one now, and an all time favourite that I have played hundreds of times, is Sarah Vaughan, Oscar Peterson, Joe pass, Louie Bellson and Ray Brown on an album called ‘How long has this been going on?’ (Pablo records recorded in 1978 in LA).
4. Back to the land of classical music. One of my all time favourite pieces is the Schubert Fantasia for 2 pianos Op.103. I was given a recording of it for my 18th birthday and it has remained one of my most played CDs ever since. It is played by Murray Perahia and Radu Lupu and recorded in one of my favourite halls in England, The Maltings in Snape.
5. I would like to include the Beethoven String Quartets as played by the Vegh quartet. The recording is from the early 1970s (Valois label). Apart from the wonderful musicianship and music that the quartet portrays, I love going back into the sound world of older recordings (also in the Neveu disc). It is far removed from the shiny ‘perfect’ world of recordings of today. Chamber music has always been the medium where I feel at home the most and one can’t go past the Beethoven quartets of course.