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Rachel Podger – Lockdown Playlist

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‘I love to listen to choral polyphony last thing at night, preferably with a candle burning’, says violinist Rachel Podger, who shares her lockdown playlist with us this week. Bach’s earliest cantata gives hope, as does Bernstein’s ebullient ‘Something’s coming’. Debussy provides a water colour in sound, Purcell and Telemann recall good company and no one can beat Ella Fitzgerald in Blue Moon.

Listen to the playlist via Spotify below and read on for more detailed descriptions of the music from Rachel.

1. Josquin Des Prez: Motetti De La Corona – Praeter rerum seriem
Paul McCreesh and Gabrieli Consort
I especially love listening to choral polyphony last thing at night before bed time, preferably with a candle burning. I know this particular piece reminds of Christmas time, but I find it so beautifully mesmerising at any time of the year, and especially at the moment during this pandemic.

2. Bach’s Cantata BWV150 ‘Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich’
Lionel Meunier and Vox Luminis
Apparently this is Bach’s earliest Cantata, and it is full of soul searching, pain, and, in the end hope. The last movement is an expressive Ciaconne, and if it was up to me could easily last forever!

3. Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto no 1 in D major
Wistful, ethereal and full of dreams – and the most gorgeous playing by Vilde Frang at 23 years old.

4. Debussy’s La cathédral engloutie
Daniel Barenboim – piano
This piece is a watercolour in sound!

5. Handel’s Solomon Welcome as the dawn of day
Paul McCreesh and Gabrieli Consort
This charming duet from Handel’s oratorio ‘Solomon’ has such a sweet tenderness and lightness to it.

6. Telemann’s Tafelmusik
Musica Antiqua Köln

The whole of this is really worth listening to: such inventive music with varied instrumentations including wind and brass instruments, each playing vital and entertaining roles in the musical narrative.

7. Bernstein’s West Side Story ‘Something’s coming’
Jim Bryant and Leonard Bernstein

This wonderful song in my favourite musical never fails to uplift – it’s so full of curiosity and energy; and what inventive instrumentation by Bernstein!

8. Bach’s Pièce d’Orgue Fantasie in G major
Bach’s music clears the mind, purifies the heart and comforts the soul! I adore that moment when the rapid figurations in the first section evaporate into the slower chordal section full of suspensions!

9. Purcell’s Ten Sonatas in four parts – Sonata no 6 in G minor
London Baroque

Purcell weaving two violins in and out of a repeated ground bass in pure genius fashion.

10. Rogers and Hart’s Blue Moon
Ella Fitzgerald
So schmalzy, yes, but so very good, especially with that orchestration and that singer!

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