'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Friday, January 15, 2010

Anna Hill's 'Unofficial' Desert Island Discs

Back in 2007 I wrote the post, 'Robin Hill's 'Unofficial' Desert Island Discs'.

For those unfamiliar with the Radio 4 programme, you can read all about it here.

After this blog post I was asked by a Twitter friend, egoboss, what my choices would be...
As one of the founders of the personalized news site 'Ensembli', and also the online business development company, 'Egoboss', and after a nudge from Carl over Christmas, I thought I better get on with it.

So over the holiday period I gave it some thought.
I must say the task was far harder than I had initially anticipated.
A lifetime of listening to music, and being involved in the music industry, makes narrowing down to just 8 pieces a real challenge.

But here are my choices:

1) Take Five: Dave Brubeck Quartet

'Take Five' was written bu Paul Desmond and performed and recorded by the Dave Brubeck Quartet on numerous occasions. Written in 5/4 time it has endured as a jazz classic.

This piece of music is so familiar to me and brings comfort and sorrow in equal measures.
As I grew up this piece was repeatedly played by my stepfather, Tony. Looking back I now realise what a significant role he played in my musical education.
He had exceptionally eclectic tastes, and many hours were spent listening to all styles of music.
This partially resulted in my musical tastes being completely out of step with my generation, which was possibly one of the greatest favours he did me.
To hear music from all eras and styles was the best education I could have asked for.
Take Five was such a significant piece to all in our family, that on the terribly sad occasion of Tony's funeral, Robin performed his own arrangement of 'Take Five', live, accompanied by saxophonist, Munch Manship.
How they ever managed to perform so beautifully under such sad and emotional conditions I shall never know, but will always be very grateful. My only regret being that Tony wasn't able to hear it as he would have been delighted.

2) Schubert Piano Trio No.2 in E flat major, D929 (Op.100)

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was a prolific, Austrian composer known for his melodic and harmonic writing.
As the rules of 'Desert Island Discs' only allow me one movement, it is without hesitation that I choose the 2nd movement, Andante con moto.
I actually remember the very first time I heard this movement.
I was driving the car with the radio on and despite reaching my destination I simply couldn't turn the radio off. I remained in the car until the piece had finished, and was consequently late for a lecture, but it was worth it!

3) The Beatles: All My Loving

Anyone who knows me will not be surprised to find a Beatles track in my list.
It's another example of being out of kilter with my peers as I was only a baby when The Beatles split.
The problem was choosing a song.
It could have been 'Something', 'She's Leaving Home', 'Here Comes the Sun', 'Eleanor Rigby' or any of them really.
But choose one I must, so I have decided on, 'All My Loving'.
The reason being that the energy and enthusiasm of The Beatles shines through, even though the song was written in 1963!

4) 'Eternal Dance' by Robin Hill

I am in the enviable position of being married to a musician. People generally seem very interested in musicians, which is one of the reasons this blog started in the first place!
But Robin is not only a performing musician but also a composer.
I added 'Eternal Dance' to the list, not out of a sense of loyalty, but, because I think it is the first movement of a fantastic concerto.
As Sir Thomas Beecham (1879-1961) said, "Composers should write tunes the chauffeurs and errand boys can whistle."
'Eternal Dance' certainly fulfills this requirement as our chauffeurs and errand boys have never ceased to whistle it since its creation....
You can read more about 'Eternal Dance' here.

Needless to say, if any orchestras are interested in adding the concerto to their programme then please feel free to get in touch, and likewise, if any guitarists out there are interested in performing or recording this new and exciting guitar concerto, don't hesitate to contact me!

5) 'God Only Knows' The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys released 'God Only Knows' in 1966. Its complicated melodic structure and vocal harmonies made it one of the most technically sophisticated songs of the time.
As Sir Paul McCartney is known to have listed it as one of his favourite songs, then I'm in good company.
It's also one of the songs I have listened to for most of my life and continue to listen to today.

6)Violin Concerto in D minor Op.47: Jean Sibelius

The Finnish composer Jean Sibelius made his mark early in my musical development.
The movement I choose , I, Allegro Moderato, would often be played when I was home alone as a teenager, loudly, whilst I marvelled at the sheer brilliance of the music.

7) 'Say a Little Prayer' Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin has to be the greatest soul singer of all time.
This is a difficult song to sing, and believe me I've tried...
If you haven't got a copy in your collection then I suggest you rectify that immediately.

And finally,

8) 'Hissing of Summer Lawns' Joni Mitchell

Both Robin and I love all Joni's work, particularly from 'Court and Spark' to 'Travelogue' and consider her one of the greatest song writers of our times.
The track 'Hissing of Summer Lawns' from the album of the same name is on the list because it is a highly significant song for Robin and I. Say no more.

I am also allowed to take a book.
I have selected, 'Crime and Punishment' by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
I have read this before, many years ago, and it is such an incredible story that I would like to read it again.

My luxury item:
This would have to be a never ending supply of writing paper and a fountain pen with a lifetime's supply of ink.
If I'm going to be stranded on a desert island at least I would finally have time to write all the stories that constantly circulate in my imagination!

So there you are, a small insight into my musical tastes....

Friday, January 08, 2010

Lunchtime Chamber Concert - Robin Hill

If you are in Yorkshire then I know the perfect place for you to be on Wednesday 13th January at 12.30pm, Dewsbury Town Hall.
As regular readers are all too aware, it isn't often that Robin performs in the UK, so this is an excellent opportunity!

Although only an hour long, as is traditional for lunchtime recitals, it is certainly an eventful hour.
The programme features, amongst many others, Tarrega, Llobet, Dilermando Reis, Albeniz, J.S.Bach, Villa-Lobos and, of course, Hill.

Robin has performed at Dewsbury Town Hall a number of times before. Here is the post I wrote after the 2007 concert, 'Fasten Your Seat belts - Robin Hill Live in Dewsbury'.

As Kirklees Council have said in their advertising, "Robin's concerts at the Town Hall have been so popular that we felt we just had to have him back!"
For contact and venue details visit here.