If one were to assemble a list of anything that he or she would want to have with them on a desert island, there really have to be some ground rules. I have composed endless numbers of these lists for myself, but I cheat. If it is movies, I treat The Godfather Trilogy as a single entry. If it is music, I consider all of Beethoven's nine symphonies as one. I have been studiously listening to classical music for the better part of 30 years and decided to consider those recordings that I could not do without.
Classical Music possesses a multidimensional character that other genera do not. When one thinks of Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations one can consider this composition's place among all compositions, among all Baroque compositions, and among all of Bach's compositions. Additionally, one has the opportunity to consider the performance: was the set played on a harpsichord or a modern piano. Then one can consider a given recording: Wanda Landowska's, Trevor Pinnock's, or Masaaki Suzuki's harpsichord performances; or, Glenn Gould's, Daniel Barenboim's, or Angela Hewitt's on piano. It is this manifold nature that makes the vein of Classical Music so rich and requiring thoughtful consideration. There are a lot of reasons for choosing one recording over another as one's favorite and I will probably employ all of them. These ten single recordings represent my lifetime of listening. They are in no particular order.
Horowitz in Moscow
On April 20, 1986, pianist Vladimir Horowitz performed a recital at Tchaikovsky Hall (Moscow Conservatory), Moscow, Russia. The historical significance of this performance was it was Horowitz’s first public recital in his native country since 1925. The pianist was 82 years old at the time of the concert and his return to perform in Russia was considered a national triumph. Aside from the historical significance of the concert, Horowitz’s concert captured arguably the greatest living pianist performing a wide-ranging repertoire at close to the peak of his considerable powers. His recital spans from the Baroque repertoire of Domenico Scarlatti to the Post-Romantic stock of Sergey Rachmaninov. Horowitz’s performance of "Mozart’s Piano Sonata in C Major, K. 330" may be his best Mozart ever. Horowitz in Moscow is a great sampler disc offering a wide variety of musical periods performed on a special day by a superb musician.