I was recently challenged to come up with a list of my 10 favorite records. No easy task, especially as one’s musical taste tends (and ought) to change along with -and because of- one’s life experiences and influences. In fact, any such list is essentially a moment frozen in time: no doubt my choices will be different if I try this exercise again in a month, year or decade from now.
Having said that, I tried to think how I could make my -inevitably arbitrary and ephemeral- selection a bit more meaningful. I wanted to make a point and so I decided to consider only records from my vinyl collection. Vinyl still persists amidst today’s technological frenzy, and for a good reason: apart from its full, warm sound it brings with it a whole culture, from the process surrounding its purchase to the actual listening experience and the sheer pleasure of enjoying its artwork.
So here’s some of the most memorable vinyl records I have acquired over the last few years (arranged à la Nick Hornby in chronological order of acquisition):
1) Sviatoslav Richter – J.S. Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier
The world’s greatest pianist meets the world’s greatest composer. Amen.
2) Neville Marriner – Amadeus [Original Soundtrack Recording]
As if Mozart’s sublime music wasn’t rewarding enough, listening to this record reminds me of Milos Forman’s epic masterpiece, one of my favorite movies ever.
3) The Beatles – Rubber Soul
Someone once said there are three great Bs in music: Bach, Beethoven and… The Beatles. He was right.
4) Jacque Loussier Trio – Play Bach No. 1
I’ve hinted at the artistry of French pianist Jacque Loussier in an earlier post about Vivaldi, but it was with his inspired take on Bach that he made his breakthrough.
5) Baden Powell – Poema on Guitar
I love everything about this record: its title, its beautiful cover, and above all Baden Powell’s tuneful guitar sound and dreamy compositions.
6) Simon & Garfunkel – The Concert in Central Park
I still get goose bumps every single time I listen to this. Timeless.
7) Led Zeppelin – IV
I bought this in a vinyl shop in Istanbul. Like the Quran in mosques or the Bible in churches, I think it should be freely available at all conservatories and music schools.
8) Arvo Pärt – Tabula Rasa
A deeply evocative work by a remarkable and highly idiosyncratic composer whose music truly makes time stand still.
9) Thanasis Papakonstantinou – Ο Ελάχιστος Εαυτός (The Minimal Self)
The finest and most original composer that has emerged in the last 20 years in Greece. His records are like rays of light amidst a vast darkness…
10) Paco de Lucía - Almoraima
A true miracle of technique, composition, and expression – the more I listen to it, the more I admire Paco’s astonishing skill as both guitarist and musical innovator.