Mojo, June 1995

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It's only an F sharp fragment,
but I like it, like it, yes I do


Mojo

The "private passions" of Elvis Costello — "we'll call you Declan, if you don't mind" — as disclosed to Michael Berkeley on Radio 3 last month.

1. Byrd: Ye Sacred Muses, sung by Alfred Deller

"I heard this in a Fretwork concert and it just absolutely astonished me. Then in the last few months this Alfred Deller recording was reissued. I couldn't believe how vivid and extraordinary the physical quality of the recording was, quite apart from the beauty of the music and the singing. It has an almost scorching tone."

2. Schubert: Sonata For Piano in F Sharp Minor (Unfinished), played by Andras Schiff

"I went to see Andras Schiff's recent recital at the Wigmore Hall in London, which I love. It's a very intense experience being in this little box and hearing someone go through a particular body of work. For an encore he came out and played this F sharp minor fragment — an incomplete movement — and it was a wonderful ending. It isn't terribly well-known, and scholars haven't as yet completed it, so it was very poignant when it ended in mid-phrase."

3. Mozart: Porto, Parto, Ma Tu Ben Mio, from La Clemenza Di Tito, sung by The English Baroque Soloists and conducted by John Eliot Gardiner

"I'm actually on this, clapping at the end! Some of the most exciting opera performances I've ever seen have been at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, using the bare minimum of props to suggest the scene. In this case, I think the original instruments are used to great effect —the sound of the basset clarinet in particular. Add to that the fact that it was a live recording, it has that sense of spontaneity about it which is irresistible."

4. Weill: My Ship, played by Miles Davis

"I was fortunate enough to meet Gil Evans and he was totally open about music, he didn't have any set ideas. Yet he wrote these beautiful orchestrations around Miles Davis, in this case taking music by someone we thought of as a contemporary classical composer."

5. Von Koch: De Vilda Svanarna, sung by Ann-Sophie Von Otter

"This is a piece by a very obscure Swedish composer. I attended an Ann-Sophie Von Otter recital about three years ago, and she sang this extraordinary song that made a very big impression on me. I like the way it contradicts all these terrible clichés about Scandinavians being very austere."

6. Britten: Corpus Christi Carol, sung by Jeff Buckley

"I know Britten's music less than I know many others, and I made this discovery in the most unlikely place. The future will decide whether or not Jeff Buckley is a 'rock' singer, but he has an extraordinary voice and he's interested in all kinds of music."

7. Stravinsky: Le Marche Royal, from L'Histoire Du Soldat, conducted by Stravinsky

"Stravinsky, I think I'm right in saying, is the first composer of whom we have a complete set of recordings done under his supervision. I actually prefer the early recordings done in Paris, mainly because the recording technique is amazingly clear but is struggling to contain the music. It sounds as if the musicians are clinging on by the skin of their teeth!"

8. Purcell: Fantazia No. 5 in B Flat Major, played by Fretwork

"This is a very recent recording by Fretwork. The Purcell Fantazias are among the most beautiful music Purcell wrote, yet they're not terribly well-known. They're perhaps the end of viol music in England, and it seems a terrible shame that that beautiful sound has only been used occasionally by modern composers. So I'd love to conclude these choices with my personal favourite of the Fantazias."

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Mojo, No. 19, June 1995


Mojo reports on EC's appearance on Radio 3.

Images

1995-06-00 Mojo page 41 clipping 01.jpg
Clipping.

1995-06-00 Mojo cover.jpg 1995-06-00 Mojo page 03.jpg
Cover and contents page.

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