Twenty Essential Albums for Me Today

There have been a lot of people on Facebook recently sharing albums that shaped them when they were teenagers, which is quite interesting. I thought I’d also like to share my current ‘Top Twenty’ – in alphabetical order by artist surname, with the proviso that I will not let myself pick more than one album per artist. These albums are by the artists I currently play the most and consider essential to my musical well-being and inspiration.

  1. Nicola Benedetti: ‘Vaughan Williams/Taverner’
  2. Billy Bragg: ‘Tooth and Nail’
  3. Anne Briggs: ‘A Collection’
  4. Matthew Byrne: ‘Hearts and Heroes’
  5. Martin Carthy: ‘Martin Carthy’
  6. Bruce Cockburn: ‘Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws’
  7. Maria Dunn: ‘Gathering’
  8. James Findlay, Bella Hardy, Brian Peters & Lucy Ward: ‘The Liberty to Choose: A Selection of Songs from the New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs’
  9. Genticorum: ‘La Bibournoise’
  10. Nic Jones: ‘Penguin Eggs’
  11. Choir of King’s College Cambridge/Philip Ledger: ‘Orlando Gibbons: Tudor Church Music’
  12. Mark Knopfler: ‘The Ragpicker’s Dream’
  13. London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis: ‘Handel’s Messiah’
  14. Maddy Prior: ‘Seven for Old England’
  15. Jean Ritchie & Doc Watson: ‘At Folk City’
  16. Red Tail Ring: ‘Mountain Shout’
  17. Stan Rogers: ‘Northwest Passage’
  18. Kate Rusby: ‘Ten’
  19. Martin Simpson: ‘Kind Letters’
  20. Sting: ‘Ten Summoner’s Tales’

Anyone else like to share their top twenty?


The Trumpet Shall Sound

I’m a little unorthodox, I guess, but this is my favourite piece from Handel’s Messiah.

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

The trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

(1 Corinthians 15:51-53)


Handel’s Messiah: ‘Rejoice Greatly’

This is the Orchestra of the Antipodes, conducted by Antony Walker. The soprani is Sarah Macliver and I think she does a lovely job!


Handel’s Messiah: ‘There Were Shepherds’ – ‘Glory to God’


Handel’s Messiah: Pifa (Pastoral Symphony)


Handel’s Messiah: ‘For Unto Us a Child is Born’

This is Stephen Cleobury conducting the Brandenburg Consort & The Choir Of King’s College Cambridge. I think this is the best performance of this piece that I’ve ever seen.