'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

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Robin Hill's 'Unofficial' Desert Island Discs

Today I decided that I would quiz Robin on the choices he would make for the long running BBC Radio 4 programme, 'Desert Island Discs'.

Each week a guest is invited to choose 8 pieces of music, a book, and a luxury item, which they are allowed to take with them to a desert island. The castaway is also issued with a copy of the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare.
The whole concept of the programme is a wonderful one, and we frequently listen in. Whoever the guest may be, it is always interesting, and I guess that's why it has been running since 1942!
Currently the show is presented by Kirsty Young.

As I started questioning, Robin wasn't fooled, and within seconds he had worked out what I was up to, but I must say, he was very obliging!
So here are Robin's choices - in no particular order:

1)Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No.5 in D Major.
Performed by 'Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin'.

Robin initially heard this piece performed by Jack Loussier, and the jazz version so intrigued him, that he was inspired to explore the original.
He loves the piece because it is like a hugely uplifting musical kaleidoscope , with intricate contrapuntal conversations between three soloists (violin, flute and harpsicord). The first movement culminates with a highly virtuosic cadenza for the harpsichord and a triumphant return of the main theme.

2) What is Hip?
This track is by 'Tower of Power', and has to be the ultimate 'funk' tune, superbly played by the tightest band in the universe.

3)Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.
Robin's favourite is actually 'Peter's theme' performed on strings.
As a small boy he avidly watched a T.V. programme called 'Zoo Time' with Desmond Morris.
Although he didn't realise it at the time, the theme music for this programme was from Prokofiev's 'Peter and the Wolf', and it just goes to show how we are profoundly affected by music from a very young age.

4) Armando's Rhumba.
This is by Chick Corea and the piece was dedicated to his father 'Armando'.
Robin has long been a fan of Chick Corea and has in fact made several arrangements of his pieces for various combinations of instruments.
We also have a couple of letters from Chick himself who is equally complimentary about Robin's music!

5)Rodrigo's Concerto Madrigal.
Joaquin Rodrigo composed many pieces for the guitar and this is one of Robin's favourites, particularly the movement, Giradilla (Presto).
The recording he most enjoys is that of Pepe and Angel Romero as it is the most incredible feat of virtuosity by two of the best players on the planet.
Hill/Wiltschinsky have performed this piece but sadly not recorded it.

Robin chose 'Because' from The Beatles 'Love' album as it is the version with the backing harmonies only. It's very poignant to hear distant birdsong from the trees outside Abbey Road studio, and shows incredible insight into the harmonies The Beatles were capable of, and how well they could sing them when not being deafened by screaming Beatlemaniacs.

7)The Boho Dance.
The Boho Dance is from Joni Mitchell's album 'The Hissing of Summer Lawns' which was released in 1975.
Robin is a huge fan of Joni Mitchell and this is just one of many of her works that he feels are masterpieces.

8)Handel's Rinaldo:Aria: Lascia ch'io Pianga.
Robin's all time favourite recording of this is by Cecilia Bartoli with 'The Academy of Ancient Music' conducted by Christopher Hogwood.
Robin heard her perform this at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and it's hard to imagine a finer interpretation.

All hapless castaways are also allowed a book and one luxury item.
The book Robin chose is by the American novelist John Cheever, and really, it could be any collection of his short stories.
They offer perfect insight into American life and life in general.
(and whoever it is who borrowed our copy could you please return it....!!)

Finally, the luxury item, and I don't think there will be any surprises here.
One of his Miguel Rodriguez guitars of course. Although he has been rather cheeky and asked for a huge supply of strings - I'm not sure if that will be allowed.

One final note.
Whilst these are definitely all favourites, if I had asked Robin on another day, we may have had a completely different list of pieces. But then that's the beauty of music.

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