Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Desert Island Doosras

You are only allowed 8 overs on your Desert Island.  It's a pretty tough choice for a great lover of classical music like Fantasy Bob.  He would of course get round this by going for boxed sets, but even then choice is too limited.  But after a lot of soul searching, FB thinks this is the squad that would probably to make it onto Kirsty Young's turntable:

Dove sono, from the Marriage of Figaro (sung by Renee Fleming); the second part of Mahler's 8th symphony; the first movement of Beethoven's Archduke Trio; Seigfried's Funeral March from Gotterdamerung; the opening of Schubert's Bflat piano sonata; Vissi d'arte from Tosca (Callas of course);  the Rite of Spring by Stravinsky; Den Alles Fleisch from Brahms' German Requiem.

Test Match quality in every note.

But there is one other tune that must be there.  The finale of Mahler's fourth symphony may well present a child's view of heaven,  Beethoven's late quartets may well be the perfect representation of the triumph of the human spirit. But this piece has the smell of newly cut grass, the feel the sun on your face and the firm turf under your feet.  It is perfect.

Booker T - no sign of a cricket bat
Soul Limbo by Booker T and The MGs was released in 1968.  Now, Booker T hailed from Memphis and there is no evidence that he had any knowledge of cricket, so its perfection is one of life's miracles.  Its distinctly Caribbean feel, with cowbells and steel drums (actually a marimba), captures the exuberance of the West Indian dominance of Test cricket at the time and its use as BBC's cricket theme was probably stimulated by the practice of West Indian fans banging beer cans together rhythmically.  

The theme was used for television coverage until the BBC shamefully and disastrously relinquished the rights in 1998, and civilisation began its final decline.  But it remains the theme tune forTest Match Special on Radio 4.  It is as fresh now as it was 40 years ago.  When Channel 4 took over coverage they used a number of themes, the most  memorable being Lou Bega's 'Mambo Number 5', during England's 2005 triumph over Australia.  But it is a very poor second to Soul Limbo.  And Channel 5's efforts even further behind.

'Wait a minute, FB,' you are saying. 'someof this is marginally interesting, but you've already got 8 discs of all that classical stuff so you've no room for a cricket tune.'

 Yes, but FB's luxury is a mobile phone and Soul Limbo is the ring tone.

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