Christopher Purdy Makes His List for the Desert Island
You know the drill.
What would you need to survive on a deserted island? Not missing the obvious – a player, a power source and maybe chocolate – I submit the following: This is the music that has meant the most to me over the years, in no particular order.
- Monteverdi: Vespers of the Blessed Virgin, aka Vespers of 1610
The recordings I especially love are by the Boston Baroque/Martin Pearlman on Telarc (because I knew the band when it was starting up back in the day as the Banchetto Musicale playing in churches around Harvard Square) AND the Venetian San Marco blast conducted by John Eliot Gardner with Bryn Terfel in the chorus! (DGG-Archiv)
- Mozart: Don Giovanni with Eberhard Waechter, Joan Sutherland, Luigi Alva, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini. You can’t ruin Don Giovanni for me. I first heard it on an old recoding when I was eight years old and my life changed. Each set piece is miracle followed by another miracle. I shed my antipathy for Schwarzkopf because Giulini is so fiery.
- Bruckner: Symphony 7. I hope to hear this in heaven. I love Otto Klemperer’s performance with the Philharmonia Orchestra.
- Bellini: Norma. Maria Callas, Giulietta Simionato, Mario del Monaco, Antonino Votto, live at La Scala, Milan, December 7, 1955. Cheap on Gala records. This performance is the perfect fusion of music and drama in a great opera which is sometimes overly dramatic and musically chancy. Not here. One of Callas’s greatest performances.
- Courts and Chapels of Renaissance France with the Boston Camerata. This LP was recorded thirty-five years ago. I wore out two copies. It never made it to CD. A buddy took my worn LP and made a CD copy for me. Scratched as it is, I love the elegant performances of graceful and bawdy music done by people I grew up hearing live. I asked Joel Cohen, the director, why this performance was never published as a CD: “The master tapes are long gone.”
- R. Strauss: “Zweite Brautnacht!” from De aegyptische Helena. Helen of Troy’s ecstasy the morning after her wedding night. Second bridal night! Magic Night! sung by Leontyne Price. There’s a YouTube clip of Price singing this when she was 65. Unforgettable. Hot. Sexy. Glorious.