Saturday October 10th is National Album Day!
An event which takes place every year and which celebrates a love for the album format, and everything it stands for.
This year, since live events are not possible, artists around the world will be taking to social media to share the albums that have helped them escape the worries of the past few months.
So we thought we’d check in on our own artists and see what they’ve been escaping to…
Jessye Norman sings Schubert & Mahler with Irwin Gage
‘My Current fave listen’
Nina Simone – Remixed and Reimagined
‘I’m a big fan of both Nina Simone and remixes (when they’re done well and with imagination), and this ticks both boxes for me! We play this album at home a lot, and in lots of different settings, whether it be background music over dinner, or blasting out on a Saturday afternoon, and the cool blend of Simone’s soulful voice with tasteful contemporary DJ sounds never disappoints.’
Bach Goldberg Variations, played by Murray Perahia
‘This must be some of the most sublime music ever written, and has always been absolute escapism for me.’
Mikhail Pletnev playing Scarlatti
‘Some albums grab you immediately and some are growers: the most special do both. I’ve been listening to this one for twenty years and, far from getting bored of it, every hearing reveals fresh things and I love it a little bit more.’
Harnoncourt – The Sacred Cantatas
‘The pandemic started as I was immersed in Bach and looking forward to recording my next CD. The good side of concerts getting cancelled was finding the time to upgrade my knowledge of Bach’s Cantatas, perhaps the most revealing form of his compositions, listening methodically, starting from BWV 1 in the beautiful interpretation of Harnoncourt. In order to maintain a healthy balance, I combined it with Blackpink and other K-pop…’
Rachmaninov conducts Rachmaninov
‘My Album of choice would be Rachmaninov conducting his own compositions (Symphony 3, Isle of the Dead, Vocalise). There is only one CD of him conducting, and it’s wonderful.
It never fails to take my mind wondering into a fairy-tale fantasy world.’
Kid A, by Radiohead
‘Since first hearing Radiohead’s fourth studio album at age 16, it has been my go-to: when I’m feeling nostalgic, when I need to return to center, when I want to marvel at sheer musical genius and imagination. To me, it is a perfect album, and my steadfast companion through times good and bad.’
Hermeto Pascoal – ‘Festa Dos Deuses’
‘I discovered this marvellous album 25 years ago, and had a chance to re-hear it several times during the lockdown. It was first an occasion to travel back to my young days, and also to remember how this album, for its genius and creativity, has been crucial in my approach to music.’
Songs for Swingin’ Lovers – Frank Sinatra.
‘Of course, being a classical chap, there are hundreds of classical albums I could (and would want to) list. But if you want a lift, listen to the way Nelson Riddle’s arrangement in ‘I’ve got you under my skin’ takes off in the middle bit, building and building, and building the tension. To breaking point, so that you want to laugh out loud with the sheer bloody pizzazz, the life-affirming joy of it. Awesome solos!!! Virus? What virus??!’
Hable Con Ella by Alberto Iglesias
‘My album escape is the Hable Con Ella soundtrack from Alberto Iglesias. It is a rich, colourful and engaging album, full of melancholy strings, sustained reflection and pulsating rhythms, that transport me to a different place in time and provide solace!’
Alfred Brendel plays Mozart piano concertos
‘This is one of the very first classical albums I ever had: these concertos exude sheer joy and playfulness, and the way Brendel evokes the essence of this music through such natural elegance and style, as well as his beautiful luminous tone, continues to inspire me today.’
You Must Believe in Spring by Bill Evans
‘From the first note to the last, Bill Evans transports me to a longed-for place every time. Nostalgic, atmospheric, beautifully played and composed, it is one of my favourite listening experiences. And of course, you really must believe in spring…’
Eivind Buene: Schubert Lounge
‘Listening to Buene’s Schubert Lounge one immediately gets the artistic idea; here is the composer himself, crooning away in songs by both Schubert and Eivind Buene.
A modern-day popular Lied.’
The Charisma Years, by Lindisfarne
‘A flashback to childhood with memories good, bad and imagined.’
Musica Aeterna/Currentzis – Le Nozze di Figaro
‘There’s something about the almost reckless abandon of this recording that has given me a completely fresh insight into the piece: the groove, the gesture, the style made me fall in love with a classic all over again.’
Schubert’s ‘Winterreise’ by Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten (Decca 1963)
‘Even though I tend to listen to Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Irish or Scottish folk music (like the band ‘The Gloaming’) most of the time when I’m at home, my desert island disc would be Schubert’s ‘Winterreise’ by Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten (Decca 1963). Every time I listen to it, I feel like I’m transported into another world and taken on a journey and I forget everything around me. There is a most wonderful rhythmic freedom, a huge array of colours and emotions, attention to detail and it is performed with such integrity and thoughtful interpretation of the text.’