After coming across an old list of Thomas Mann's favorite records — part of a Saturday Review of Literature survey of the musical tastes of "laymen of note in public affairs" — I had the idea of trying out a "My Favorite Records" feature on this blog. There is, of course, no shortage of such lists; the genre goes back at least as far as 1942, when the BBC introduced "Desert Island Discs." This incarnation will reach out to Noted Persons not directly involved in classical music who have an ear for the classical sound, although the lists can and should include everything. Björk has generously agreed to kick things off. I have known her since 2004, when I profiled her for The New Yorker (the article is reprinted in my book Listen to This). She is amazing. Her album Biophilia was recently released by One Little Indian / Nonesuch.
THAI POP Siamese Soul, Volume 2 (Sublime Frequencies)
STEVE REICH Tehillim; Steve Reich and Musicians (ECM)
MAHLER Symphony No. 10 [performing version by Deryck Cooke]; Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic (EMI)
BERG Lulu; Teresa Stratas, Franz Mazura, Kenneth Riegel, Yvonne Minton, Pierre Boulez conducting the Paris Opera Orchesta (DG) [Björk loves the great John Dexter production of Lulu at the Met, which can be seen on a Sony DVD]
ALIM QASIMOV Azerbaijan: The Art of the Mugham (Ocora)
JONI MITCHELL Don Juan's Reckless Daughter (Asylum)
KATE BUSH The Dreaming (EMI)
NICO Desertshore (Reprise)
PUBLIC ENEMY It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (Def Jam)
APHEX TWIN Drukqs (Warp)
PANASONIC, Panasonic EP (Sähkö)
BLACK DOG PRODUCTIONS Bytes (Warp)
JAMES BLAKE James Blake (Atlas)
YouTube extras: "Recently I have been guilty of watching a lot of YouTube," Björk says. She's been exploring Martha Argerich (1972 home movies, her "raw and feisty" Prokofiev Third) and Bartók playing his own music (selections from Ten Easy Pieces and Hungarian Peasant Songs, Rumanian Folk Dances).