Ruth Rogers, Leader of the London Mozart Players, tells us about the five pieces of music, book and luxury she would take to a desert island.
Well I must say this is an impossible task! In choosing these five pieces I have had to neglect Mendelssohn Octet, Mozart G minor String Quintet, Brahms G major String Quintet, Tchaikovsky Souvenir de Florence, Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, Mozart Requiem, Strauss Four Last Songs... seems terrible not to choose all of them! So with a heavy heart at having to whittle it down to only five these are my choices....
Mozart - Sinfonia Concertante
I have been lucky enough to perform this several times (with Lawrence Power, Tim Ridout & Judith Busbridge) and I think it is one of the most joyous pieces of music ever written. It is an incredibly satisfying piece to play as it is written so well from a technical point of view. It is also such fun to perform alongside another soloist - you can forget that it is a concerto and treat it as collaborative chamber music.
Beethoven - Violin Concerto
I have recently started learning this concerto at the grand old age of forty and will perform it next year. A very famous violinist said he only started to tackle this work when he reached forty because it required such musical maturity. I have led many orchestras for other violinists playing this piece and once it was at a time when my elderly father was critically ill with pneumonia. Anthony Marwood played the slow movement with such sublime spiritual serenity that I felt completely at peace with the idea that I might lose my father. It is an incredibly special piece of music and I just hope I can do it justice.
Stravinsky - Petrushka
I played this at the BBC Proms with the National Youth Orchestra when I was fourteen years old. I think it was the turning point for me when I realised that I felt utterly compelled to pursue a career in music. It seemed like a musical fireworks display - thrilling, mesmerising and somewhat dangerous!
Brahms – Symphony No 1
I love this symphony. Brahms declared it took him 21 years to write it and I think you can hear how much love and care has gone into this beautiful composition. I adore the romantic violin solo in the slow movement and the huge range of emotions depicted throughout the piece.
My husband and I danced to Fly me to the Moon at our wedding. We had lessons beforehand and incorporated some lifts and fancy moves that made it a very impressive (or so we thought!) dance routine. We didn’t let any of our guests film it because we wanted to remember it as being brilliant. It was a worry that video footage might have provided evidence to the contrary! We love listening to all of Frank’s songs when we are having a relaxing evening at home with a glass of wine. I have played in the John Wilson Orchestra at the BBC Proms every year for a decade so I feel very at home with this genre of music.
I presume that choosing a book for a desert island is not necessarily the best book one has ever read but a book that one would want to read over and over again? There are so many incredible books to choose from that this is an almost impossible task but if I really have to single one out.... The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy - a beautiful, haunting tale of intergenerational love. This is, after all, what makes the world go around.
As for a luxury item... well, define luxury! I guess on a desert island it would be a helicopter so I can whizz off to the mainland to stock up on supplies of gin, chocolate and sun cream....
Book for Ruth Rogers performing with the London Mozart Players at Leeds Town Hall on Saturday 19 October
View the Leeds International Orchestral Season 2019/20 brochure online