So, the Proms as we know them are off, albeit, given the amount in its archive, the BBC has enough material to easily fill each of the intended Proms-related radio and television slots. Repeats they may be, but we might enjoy listening and watching again or coming across something for the first time; and, anyway, there is the prospect, as the 2020 Proms Season enters its final fortnight (late-August/early-September), of some live music-making depending on the Government Guidelines that apply at the time. (Please see the Henry Wood-adorned news item for further details.)
However, what with Covid-19 and so much disruption to what we are used to, and the anxiety and tragedy caused, I got to thinking of musical Endgames. What would be my final piece of music to listen to? I am down to a handful of works. Two are obvious in titular terms, although both are also favourite opuses of mine, Harrison Birtwistle’s The Triumph of Time and Richard Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration. I have not forgotten the Abschied from Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, and Desert Island Piano Concertos would include Beethoven No.4 and Brahms’s First.
That said, given the question I posed to myself regarding the ultimate listen, really my heart and soul, my whole being in fact, lies elsewhere – to Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring (in Suite form) and Ralph Vaughan Williams’s A London Symphony. Come their conclusions, as either has a magical way of fading from aural consciousness, one or other would do nicely as I depart (gently or otherwise) into Dylan Thomas’s “good night”, if hopefully not for a while. And, of course, this meagre selection leaves unmentioned so many masterworks.
May I ask though, what would you choose as your final act of listening; or, if you are a performer, to conduct, play or sing? (It doesn’t have to be ‘classical’.) I am very interested to know, and if you are willing to share, please do so, preferably as a Comment below.
Thanks and best wishes, Colin