I think, bizarrely, the Pogues influenced the way I play Baroque music
Vivaldi The Four Seasons
Iona Brown, Academy of St Martin in the Fields
This is the recording that fi rst got me hooked on Vivaldi when I was ten. I had been learning violin for two years already and I knew this was a terrific performance, very immediate and gripping – I was spellbound. There are other great recordings but listening to this one, I often think that if I hadn’t heard it, my whole life might have turned out differently.
Beethoven Violin Concerto in D major; Romances nos.1 & 2
Josef Suk, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Franz Konwitschny, Prague Symphony Orchestra/ Václav Smetácek
Suk was a great violin player and on this recording, which I first heard 15 years ago, he gives a superb interpretation that’s a joy to listen to: great playing and excellent sound. There’s a feeling of spontaneity to the performance that I don’t think always comes through in recordings today, as it’s so easy to make edits – in those days, when a recording was made up of three takes and a few patches, there was more sense of giving a performance.
If I Should Fall from Grace with God
The music of the Pogues is absolutely from the heart, and the tone is rough and ready, exciting without necessarily being fast. I think, bizarrely, they influenced the way I play Baroque music: I find some recordings dull, or needlessly loud and fast. Some of the slower tracks on that album are exquisite.
Ae Spark o’ Nature’s Fire
I love Scottish folk music and some of the fiddling on this album is virtuosic – classical players can learn a lot from it. Folk fiddlers are able to busk and improvise, whereas for Baroque playing it’s usually better to have everything worked out and practised beforehand, so it still sounds improvised.
Beethoven Violin Concerto in D major; Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor
Alfredo Campoli, LSO/Adrian Boult & Josef Krips
Campoli was a phenomenal violinist but of a different kind from Suk, in that his playing is slightly more understated and suave, whereas with Suk the raw passion comes through. Campoli was never such an in-your-face kind of player.