The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Batting Order: Neil Hannon's Favourite Albums
Laurie Tuffrey , July 4th, 2013 08:11

The Divine Comedy man picks out the gems in his record collection following the release of his second album with The Duckworth Lewis Method this week


Igor Stravinsky - The Rite Of Spring
I probably first encountered this when Neil Tennant sang [sings]: "I feel like taking all my clothes off / Dancing to The Rite Of Spring / When I wouldn't normally do this kind of thing" and I thought "ah, well if Neil Tennant wants to take all his clothes off and dance to The Rite Of Spring, I ought to as well". He's one of my idols also - I couldn't put any of the albums in, because they're not as good as the hit singles, but I do love the Pet Shop Boys. I do love Stravinsky as well, and The Rite Of Spring, if you were going to sum up the history of humans and music, this might be the thing that you end up showing off as the absolute zenith of achievement. I remember on the Walt Disney film Fantasia, they had a bit of this and they animated it with dinosaurs and volcanos, and although it was a bit silly, I kind of knew what they were driving at: this music sounded like it existed before humans and after humans! It's like the earth itself is kind of grumbling!

He wrote it for a ballet about tribal rites, pre-history, people being human sacrifices, but it says even more than that to me - it's almost nightmarish, although it's got so much virility and astonishing, complex rhythms going on and some great, great tunes. And you can never beat the opening - it's actually a bassoon played up really, really high, going [hums melody] - it's like the eeriest thing I've ever heard!