The final take: Music Karina Cauvin can't live without.
How can I choose seven recordings when there is so much great music out there? How do I make the final selection? What attracts me to the music? Is it the interpretation, the complexity of the score or the sheer joy that I experience when I am listening? The answer probably lies somewhere in all of these. Basically, all my senses need to be awakened. I know I have more than seven recordings here. Well, never mind. CDs are so small, they don't take up that much room. My concert gown protects them down there at the bottom of my suitcase!
Les nuits d'ete/Sheherazade
Regine Crespin, various orchestras
Maurice Ravel was, along with Henry Purcell, my first musical love. I adored his exquisite orchestration and attention to every single detail. When I was doing post-graduate work at the Royal Scottish Academy in Glasgow, I remember reading his biography and weeping. Imagine having so much music in your head but with no way to communicate it to the outside world. He did, however, leave some of the most beautiful music to posterity. I danced to "La valse" and the famous "Bolero" when I was a small child. Among my recordings, I would want Sheherazade sung by Regine Crespin (an all-time favorite and great classic) and Louis Lortie playing the "Tombeau de Couperin" or "Pavane pour une infante defunte" (Chandos).
The great and almighty Bach. Whether it be the Orchestra Suites with Musica Antiqua Koln (DG Archiv), the St. Matthew Passion, the English Suites or the Goldberg Variations with Glenn Gould (CBC Records and Sony) or the Suites for Unaccompanied Cello with Yo-Yo Ma (Sony), it's music at its most sublime, food for the intellect and the soul.
Sony Music (France)
Jean-Jacques Goldman is a favorite among the French, a huge star. He has written numerous wonderful songs for Celine Dion. It's when he sings his own material with his raw tenor voice that I love him best, however. His songs, such as "Sache que je" or "Les choses," speak volumes about real life. Great for dancing, listening or exercising.
The Cole Porter Songbook (Vol. 1 & 2)
I discovered Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter when I was still a student at the Conservatoire in Montreal. These recordings show her elegant style in the most beautiful light--a warm and tender voice with the shimmer of diamonds on top. In Cole Porter's words, "special grace." To me, that says it all!
Hyperion Marc-Andre is one of the greatest pianists of our time, a master of the keyboard. Listening to this CD reminds me of his many pianistic talents. It also reminds me of our work together on our CD, Fete Galante, and of our numerous tours together. He's an enchanting colleague, a great friend and a huge talent.
This is music to dance the night away. It's great when I feel like unplugging. For this, I also like a CD of Italian chart-toppers called Hot Party Mix, which I picked up last summer when I was recording Vivaldi's Tito Manlio in Ravenna. It takes me right back there, to the 40-degree weather, the sun, the sea, all those great Italian meals--and gelato, of course.