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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


Edward Elgar - The Enigma Variations
It's funny because it's one of the first classical records that I would have given some time to. I liked it because it felt obviously about something that I could understand and that it had some good tunes on it, in fact it has just one or two main themes and variations on them, as the name suggests. This one has a special place for me, as it's sort of helped me through. 'Nimrod', where the theme is at its purest, is just one of the most amazing pieces of music in history. It hits every kind of right emotional pitch at the right time. I can only listen to once every couple of years, because it just makes me cry, it's really astonishing.

I think I listened to it when I was about 17. I am interested in classical music - I could rattle off... The people that seem to do the most for me are between 1900 and 1940, it's Stravinsky and Ravel, Shostakovich. Fauré is a recent acquisition, but I don't want to sound like a dick-ponce [laughs]!

I think it's simply because it's where the Romantic movement is morphing into modernity and after the war, it really goes completely mental and I can't handle most of that. Although I do like a few post-modernists like Brant and Glass, people who are a joy as well. It's that period in the twenties, though, where there was some crazy stuff going on. Where they're really using dissonance and incredible syncopation that had never got a look in - for me, that's really enjoyable, where everything's going a bit mental. But they had still got good tunes, that's very important for me.