Bloggo Incognito, Day 95: Ten Forever

January 3rd, 2011

A while back, we nominated songs for Hell’s Playlist.  This time, let’s go in the other direction.

If you were given the tiniest iPod ever made — just big enough for ten pieces of music, and told it was your audio companion for infinity up above the clouds, which ten would you choose, and why?

This is music that really needs shelf life, and it would also be nice if there were some variety.  But it’s your iPod — if you want Britney’s Ten Big Ones, feel free.  Just don’t try to lend me your earphones.

So there should probably be a certain pretentiousness factor here, too — this should be stuff that you’re comfortable letting other people listen to.

With no reflection at all, here’s my first pass at a celestial playlist.

Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, Bob Dylan — Because it’s the coolest song ever recorded and because it contains the line, “‘Cause the cops don’t need you/and man, they expect the same.”

Brownsville Girl, Bob Dylan, because it’s the most persuasive epic song I ever heard.

Visions of Johanna, Bob Dylan, because it’s “Visions of Johanna.”

I know, that’s a lot of Dylan

Deep Blue, Arcade Fire, because I need Arcade Fire for eternity and this cut will remind me of my favorite music of 2010, “The Suburbs.”

The Boy from Tupelo, Emmylou Harris, because for me she’s the greatest living American singer and it’s either this one or The Pearl.  Or maybe Boulder to Birmingham.

Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Neil Young, because everything works all the way through.

Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, Maurice Ravel, demonic, beautiful, rhythmic

Violin Concerto in D, Beethoven, maybe my favorite piece of music on earth.

Symphony #7, Beethoven, also maybe my favorite piece of music on earth, or perhaps the “Emperor” Concerto.

Latter Days, Over the Rhine, because it breaks my heart and I’ve written to it forever.

This is impossible.  If I were to start over, at least six of these would be different.  No way I’m letting go of the Dylans or the Beethoven Violin Concerto.

Name a few you’d like to have with you.

24 Responses to “Bloggo Incognito, Day 95: Ten Forever”

  1. Gary Says:

    I would probably load my iPod with Marvin Klotz’s poems. Because they were promised by January 2 or 3!!

  2. Bonnie Says:

    No way I could stick with 10, but a start:

    The trio (Marschallin, Octavian, Sophie) at the end of Rosenkavalier.

    To the Moon by Dvorak.

    Mir ist so wunderbar from Fidelio by Beethoven.

    The duet between Pamina and Papageno in Zauberflöte.

    Tenor duet from Pearlfishers by Bizet.

    So what by Miles Davis.

    The Same Situation by Joni Mitchell.

    Army Dreamers by Kate Bush.

    African Marketplace by Abdullah Ibrahim (formerly Dollar Brand).

    Almost every song from the original LP of Hair.

    But then, what about Beethoven’s Violin concerto? Or Mendelssohn’s? Or Saen-Sans? Or even Korngold’s? Or Mozart’s haunting and truncated mass? Or his bassoon concerto? What about the songs from Trio (Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, and Emmylou Harris)? And all my beloved Heller chansons? That’s it, I must be going to hell after all.

  3. fairyhedgehog Says:

    This is a bit like Desert Island Discs, only with two extra pieces of music and no book or luxury!

    I’ve often thought what I’d take and my list would include:

    Albatross by Fleetwood Mac. The first single I ever bought. (My taste went downhill after that.)

    Fields of Gold by Sting because it reminds me of my Beloved (aka my husband).

    Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony because it’s bright and cheerful and was probably the first classical music I ever heard.

    Che Gelida Manina from La Bohème because it reminds me of my Dad.

    Am I allowed to play along on my clarinet? Because that greatly limits the selection!

  4. Robb Royer Says:

    Okay, the gauntlet is on the floor is it? Think you can get an opinion out of RWR do you? Here goes.

    Love all the aforementioned Dylan (we prob’ly listened to Blonde on Blonde 1000 hours at the condo) but I’d still put ‘It’s all over now Baby Blue’ as no 1.

    Sunshine of your love – my no. 1 guitar riff song

    Dear Prudence – not even so much for the song but performance and production… God

    Ramble on – see above

    The entire Rumors album, ditto Joshua Tree, ditto Peter Gabriel’s So – in fact throw 80% of the white album

    F**k it – add Sgt Pepper and Abby Road

    Classical… Yes on the left hand. I probably heard that same time you did – probably on the same stuff

    Yes on Beethoven – in fact all symphonies after the 3rd omitting the 4th but I have to rate the 9th over the 7th

    Scheherezade, Steppes of Central Asia, Russian Easter Overture and Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique – damn them Russians!

    Have to end with Toccata and Fugue and Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring – the closest musical approximations of God

    One more – Rite of Spring

    On singers – I nominate Shawn Colvin to give Emmy Lou a run for her money

    There. i feel better. Don’t you?

  5. Laren Bright Says:

    What?! No Mozart?!

    Im also in favor of Beethoven’s Pastorale. Maybe the William Tell Overture (Hi-Yo Silver, Away optional).

  6. barbara macdonald Says:

    any gregorian chant
    any classical guitar
    any thing from Jacques Brel is alive and well
    any thing from Edith Piaf
    any thing from Joan Baez
    any thing from the McGarrigle Sisters
    most folk music
    most sopranos – classical please
    a fair bit of good old gospel music (this from an avowed unbeliever)
    and throw in some Stompin’ Tom Connors

    dam, just saw Emmy Lou mentioned, her too, which makes my 10 a little with a bit of spillage

    i couldn’t pare it down to 10 actual pieces of music, my mind would fizzle out!

  7. Gary Says:

    I saw “The Pearl Fishers” in Adelaide recently with a friend. “In the Depths of the Temple” is the duet you mean, isn’t it, Bonnie? Beautiful!

    Oh, FHH, I love “Fields of Gold”! (Is that the lash of Tim’s scorn I feel already?) But in the version by the sadly short-lived Eva Cassidy.

  8. Bonnie Says:

    Gary, FHH: is that the one Michelle Kwan skated to in her last season or so?

  9. Glenn W. Says:

    Well, infinity or forever or eternity is a hell of a long time to have ten pieces on my iPod.I can barely listen to the pieces I have during a half marathon. So the folk music and jazz greats and protest songs of the 60s and 70s and all the other good stuff in between won’t tide me over for ever and ever and ever. Thus I’ll have to settle on the classical stuff….which is why “they” call it, “classical”. So here goes my list, on my tiny iPod, upon whatever cloud I ultimately rest, for infinity.

    1. The Requiems of Brahms, Mozart, and Faure. I’ll count them as one under the classification of Choral Music.
    2. Bach’s B Minor Mass.
    3. Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto
    4. Chopin’s Second Piano Concerto.
    5. Beethoven’s Third and Fifth Piano Concertos. (I’ll count them as one unless the heavenly hosts protest.)
    6. Bach’s Cello Suites.
    7. Rachmaninoff’s Second and Third Piano Concertos.(Again I’ll count them as one selection unless my iPod is confiscated.)
    8. At least a few selections from the Gregorian Chants. (I’m certain I’ll be required to do a bit of meditating)
    9. Brahms Piano Concerto.
    10. Any of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concertos.

    Tough to make these choices because for every one I chose, there are several that could be just as acceptable. Perhaps as we move around and meet one another, we could swap music. I’d be game.

    Oops, I just reread your blog, Tim, and realized I hadn’t given a rationale why I made the choices I did and, quite frankly, gave no thought about whether anyone else would care to share my iPod. Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned from that, while I’m still here on earth and have time to correct whatever flaw my ignoring of your instructions reveals.

  10. Bonnie Says:

    I think when the website has been redone, we should work on adding a player to the blog, Tim: wonder how much bandwidth it would eat up to let people upload their favorite tunes? Maybe we could do it in rotation, somehow.

    (I regard it as a sign of the soundness of this idea that my Captcha is “successive adrilicy.”

  11. Gary Says:

    Or how about Mary Duff singing “The Cliffs of Dooneen,” a cappella from beginning to end, with every note absolutely dead center and true?

    My word, that’s hard to do. And I could listen to it for eternity!

  12. Gary Says:

    Yes, yes, Bonnie! Michelle Kwan skated to Eva Cassidy.


  13. Suzanna Says:

    If I had to pick ten for eternity (and I’m so happy this is only an IF) here they are in no particular order.

    SKY BLUE AND BLACK – Jackson Browne


    UP ON THE MOUNTAIN – Patty Griffin

    INTERMEZZO, OPUS 118, No. 2 – Brahms



    PONCHO & LEFTY – Emmylou Harris

    TANGLED UP IN BLUE – Bob Dylan

    THE BOXER – Paul Simon

    AMAN AMAN/NOUR EL KADHAR – The Yuval Ron Ensemble

  14. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    OMG, as they say on Tumblr. I wrote an infinitely long response to the first five or six of you this morning and — guess what> — it’s not here. I guess Captcha flunked me and I moved on without registering it.


    Gary, aside from not commenting on how grumpy you are, the problem with Marvin’s poems (even though I now know how to put them into a post) is that I have to copy them line by line, and unlike the junk I write, Marvin’s poems deserve to be treated carefully. So I’m doing it, but I can’t post it until they’re finished.

    Bonnie, lots of opera. I wish I knew more about opera, because I feel like I’m missing a lot, I often think that the main reason to learn things is that it increases the number of ways we can enjoy ourselves. Nice to see Miles get a vote, and I CAN’T BELIEVE I didn’t include anything by Joni, although if I had to get it down to one, it would probably be “River.”

    FHH, looks like people like the “Pastorale” more than the Seventh, but I’ll stick with the Seventh for the pure joy of it. Joshua Tree and the Seventh — whoo. My Fleetwood Mac choice would be “Tusk” because I love it when the USC marching band comes in, and you can play your clarinet all you want. (I’ve been listening to Benny Goodman a lot lately.)

    Robb has a special relationship with songs, since he’s sold millions of them and won an Oscar for writing one, and we have some of the same musical DNA. We explored a lot of music together, including “Blond on Blond” and the Ravel Left Hand, and on the same fine, purely organic appreciation enhancers. Totally with you, Robb, on most of it, and THANK YOU FOR MENTIONING SHAWN COLVIN, one of the best singers (and songwriters) in the world. Can’t believe she wasn’t on my list. Thanks also for introducing me to Rimsky-Korsakov, whom I never would have listened to without you more or less forcing me to. But “Dear Prudence”? I mean, I know you’re talking mainly about the production, but . . . Oh, well. If I could have only one Beatles song, I suppose it would have to be “A Day in the Life,” although I also like “For No One.”

    Laren, Mozart for sure — for me, the “Jupiter” or the late quartets or the horn concerti or Piano Concerto 21, the one made infmaous by “Elvira Madigan.” And the Pastorale is definitely out ahead.

    Will do more in a bit. I’ve been at this keyboard since my 16th birthday.

  15. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    I am having trouble because I agree with most of you. Mozart, and Verdi Requiems, also Pearl Fishers, and La Boheme (3rd Act if I have to choose). Beethoven’s Ninth, just because, the 6th for a lighter mood. Rumors for sure, Simon and Garfunkel’s Parsley, Sage…Now I get into murky territory, I can’t imagine music without Wagner’s Walkure, and Renee Fleming singing anything-she has covers of “popular music” called Dark Hope, really interesting. Too much music to narrow it down, argh! I’ve often wondered about this. Fortunately, we don’t have to, our electronic devices hold much more

  16. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hi, barbara — The McGarrigles were wonderful, and Kate’s son, Rufus Wainwright, is on the top of my personal list — if I were to do this list over, at least one song from his CD “Want One” would be on it. Love Gregorian Chant, love Piaf, love gospel. Who the hell is Stompin Tom Connors?

    Wow, Gary, no kidding Eva Cassidy was short-lived — 33, according to WikiPedia. And once again, your frame of reference leaves me speechless, and there will be more on that below.

    Great list, Glenn, and good to see Rachmaninoff, Brahms, and Mendelssohn all make appearances. Not to mention the Bach Cello suites. Wonderful book came out last year about the cello suites by a guy named Eric Siblin. Definitely worth a read. You have a suspiciously high number of requiems (requia?) for someone who’s going to be in heaven, though. And if I have my way in heaven, there will be someone to do the meditating for me.

    Bonnie LET’S DO IT. I want a player! And people can either upload or I can simply dominate the musical conversation and put up all the music myself, bwahahahaha.

    Okay, back to Gary’s frame of reference. Mary who? The cliffs of what? Michelle Kwan skated to Eva Cassidy? What strange universe is this in which people know such things? Or is it only Gary? Is it an Aussie thing?

    Whoa, Suzanna, not just Emmylou, but Emmylou singing Townes Van Zandt. “Pancho and Lefty” is perfect in every way. Why didn’t I think of it? I could listen to “Tangled Up in Blue” for eternity just to hear Dylan sing “Delacroix.” The rest of the list isn’t exactly shabby, either, although if I were to choose a Paul Simon it would probably be “Graceland.” Great choices.

    Lil, if you think you’re having trouble, imagine responding to all these lists. Or even just Gary’s. And what is it about the Sixth? I mean, it’s pretty and all, bur the Seventh is ecstatic. And your love for Wagner seems to single you out. Of course, I’m an opera illiterate.

    Great stuff, all. I know!! Let’s have a hootenanny! Lil, you sing Wagner, Gary can do the Cliff of Grooneen or whatever it was in falsetto, Suzie and I will harmonize on “Pancho and Lefty,” Robb can play his greatest hits, and . . ,

  17. Gary Says:

    Timotty Hallinun!

    All very well t’ talk abowt moi frehm o’ refrence. But phwat about yer own? Mary Duff’s a foine fehmus Oirish singer. An’ t’ cliffs o Dooneen r t’ be fownd in County Clare!

    Oi’m ashehmd uv yu.

  18. fairyhedgehog Says:

    Losing everything you’ve put into a comment is frustrating. If you use Firefox, Safari or Chrome browsers, you can install Lazarus and it will save what you’ve written – if your upload fails, a click or two will restore all you’ve written.

    I realise it can’t help when you’ve moved on from the page thinking all was well, but it’s still useful a lot of the time.

  19. EverettK Says:

    Tim said: Bonnie LET’S DO IT. I want a player! And people can either upload or I can simply dominate the musical conversation and put up all the music myself, bwahahahaha.

    I hate to be a wet blanket, but keep in mind that most of the music you’d like to upload is copyrighted, and I’d hate to see Tim get in trouble with the RIAA. They tend to get rabid over people distributing copyrighted music (which almost all of it is, unless you have REALLY old 78s or CYLINDERS.

  20. Bonnie Says:

    I have a longer response about mostly opera that I’ll post on my lunch hour–drafted it on the little netbook I keep by my bed and realized that was pointless because I cannot see the Captcha text on it (linux/Firefox 3). But as to copyright, I’m on that, Everett. We will have to limit ourselves to posting samples–perhaps they can be a bit longer than those Amazon posts as teasers, and we can certainly be conscientious about posting links to places you can purchase the music. I think it is arguably “fair use” to post your favorite part of a song or symphony in order to inspire your friends, however, cyber, to acquire more music.

  21. Gary Says:

    Find it on YouTube and just post the link.

  22. Bonnie Says:

    Warning: this is the dreaded opera post. Skip if it might be TMI for you!

    I have to part from Lil a bit, as I generally dislike Wagner, though there are parts of Tristan und Isolde that really move me–in fact, they sound a bit like Richard Straus to me (he was a Bavarian, not to be confused with the waltz/march/operetta family in Vienna).

    Tim, I’m sure opera is an acquired taste, but I acquired it young: my dad’s favorite LP was an old recording of Maria Callas and Giuseppi diStefano in Rigoletto. Generally, opera plots are pretty stupid, but this one was based on a play by Victor Hugo. Straus of course worked with Hugo von Hoffmanstal, so the language is beautiful, but my favorite Rosenkavalier is about not very much: older woman has affair with young man, young man falls in love with woman his own age. Of course it’s about the changing of the guard, ending of an era, etc. (young woman is daughter of nouveau-riche).

    As you might guess from the selections, it’s about beautiful blending of voices for me. Two gorgeous duets in Rigoletto between Gilda and her father, between her and the (evil) Duke, as seductive as you could ever wish for, and a different kind of seduction in the fabulous quartett where the Duke, fresh from (raping?) the kidnapped Gilda, flirts with Maddalena at the inn where he is to be assasinated, and Gilda (planning to sacrifice herself to save the Duke) and Rigoletto (who hired the assasin) look on and listen.

    Even in La Bohème, Musetta’s solo gets much more enjoyable for me when her (former) lover, moved almost beyond endurance at watching her flirt though he had sworn to be done with her, joins in and turns her waltz into a duet. And you haven’t lived until you’ve heard Cecilia Bartoli sing her duet with the apothecary in L’Élisir d’amor.

    True, there are some genuine tour de force solo pieces: Queen of the Night’s aria from Zauberflöte (hit and miss, though, in a live performance), Lucia’s mad scene, Olympia’s weird doll-song from Tales of Hoffman, Nedda’s poignant musings on freedom in Il Pagliacci, Despina’s contemptuous summation of men in Così…but a lot of folks aren’t naturally conditioned to hear soprano voices as other than as screeching! Some male solos, too, such as Germont in La Traviata when he warns Violetta off his son, Floristan’s song about dreaming of his wife who, appearing as an angel, rescues him from the dungeon (when his voice is interwoven with the clarinet it invariably makes me tear up)…they are good. But the blend is best, overall, in my opinion.

    I think Mozart, Puccini, and Donizetti are probably the most accessible if you want to try a few operas on for size. Don Pasquale is a comedy and has some truly gorgeous music; Zauberflöte is a “singspiel,” with words of dialogue spoken between the arias–I think it’s available in more than one version on film or DVD (you can’t miss with this one: DGG), and it’s got a dress-up-in-costumes, allegorical feel that makes it seems a bit child-like, though the underlying themes have to do with masonry (the lodge, not the actual artesanal activity) (which has a fascinating history in Austrian politics anyway); Zefferelli staged the one I saw several times in Vienna and it was gorgeous. For sheer musical pleasure, Così Fan Tutte is delightful, though the plot is beyond ridiculous. As Beethoven’s only opera, I have to recommend Fidelio, plenty enjoyable even if you have no clue what is going on. I have grown to like Turandot (even non-aficionados will recognize Nessun Dorma), but if picking “Puccini for beginners” I’d probably go with La Bohème or La Traviata. Ah, and one of the triptych of Puccini’s, Gianni Schicchi, is short and fun and has the exquisite soprano solo “O mio babbino caro” to recommend it. And not to scorn those Strauss boys, Die Fledermaus is packed with whistle-inducing tunes and, since it’s about a party, is a classic to be staged on New Year’s Eve.

    Okay, more than anyone ever wanted to know about opera. 🙂

  23. Larissa Says:

    Ahem. Late but here…my 10 songs for All Eternity:

    1. Hey Ahab off of The Union by Elton John and Leon Russell
    2.Tangled up in Blue-but KT Tunstall’s version because it’s so ALIVE
    3. County Down by Danu
    4.Rachmaninov’s Piano Suite for 2
    5. Half Moon Rising by Yonder Mountain String Band because it reminds me of wandering (c:
    6. Nada by The Refreshments
    7.Interstate by The Refreshments
    8.Dante’s Prayer by Loreena McKennitt or The Wind That Shakes the Barley
    9. Any flamenco guitar work…there are so many that I don’t know the name of…
    10.At least one of the really long tracks off of my bellydance CD’s. They’re intricate, beautiful and they make you want to move. It will take eternity just to learn how to follow along to all of it!

    Anyway-looking at everyone’s lists makes me think I need to get more culture in me…:D

  24. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    You’re all cultured up, Riss. Great list.

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