Two days before Christmas I heard an interview with the recently released Mikhail Khodorkovsky where he was asked if he had missed going to the theatre or cinema; no, he said, but he really wanted to hear some classical music. So I thought, let’s help him out here and I put together a package of Toccata Classics CDs for him, and sent them to the Adlon Kempinski Hotel in Berlin, where he was then staying. Not knowing his musical tastes, I thought I had better err on the side of stylistic caution.
Since I had come across the Khodorkovsky interview through Norman Lebrecht’s Slipped Disc blog, I dropped Norman a note to tell him what I had done. I had intended my gesture to be a purely private one (I told only the musicians whose CDs were involved), but didn’t say that to Norman and before I knew it, he had posted the information on Slipped Disc. But since I started getting well-done messages, and no one really minds getting caught out doing a good deed, I let the blog stand. Imagine my surprise when the story appeared in a Lithuanian newspaper (good ol’ Google Translate) — be sure thy deeds will find thee out!
For the record, what I sent Khodorkovsky was:
- Algernon Ashton: Music for Cello and Piano, Volume One (TOCC 0143) — gorgeous melodies from Britain’s forgotten Romantic
- Ernst’s Violin Concerto and Concertino, Volume Four of the complete Ernst (TOCC 0189) — this is Ernst out-Paganini-ing Paganini
- Facco, Pensieri Adriarmonici, Volume 1 (TOCC 0202) — a recently rediscovered Vivaldi sound-alike
- Martinů Early Orchestral Music, Volume One (TOCC 0156) — amazing that music of such quality should go unknown for so long
- Nikolai Tcherepnin Piano Music (TOCC 0117) — much of this music was inspired by poetry and paintings that Khodorkovsky might have known as a child, so I thought it might appeal
- Telemann Harmonischer Gottes-Dienst, Volume Five (TOCC 0102) — sparkling chamber cantatas.
Basically, I looked down the shelves here and chose music that might bring him straightforward pleasure — he’s been through enough, poor chap, without now having to fight for his enjoyment! Clicking on the links above will allow you to hear the music in question. What would you have sent him — from the Toccata Classics catalogue, I mean? And no, I’ve not hear back on whether he liked any of it!