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Jacqueline du Pre: Elgar's Cello Concerto

Carole Tongue has selected five outstanding classical pieces, ideal for funeral music.

Elgar's Cello Concerto: Jacqueline du Pre

The cello's timbre speaks to me more than any other instrument and no more than when the supremely gifted du Pre is playing this masterpiece by one of England's greatest composers .I learnt the cello for a while and would hear this from a small child.

I find it unbelievable that anyone could even play such a difficult piece of music. For me it demonstrates a supreme human achievement after years of dedication.

It encompasses so many emotions, particularly melancholy.It's part of my musical DNA.

Mozart Clarinet Quintet

Mozart created a simple and beautiful harmony for this gorgeous combination of instruments.

This is one of the finest pieces written for the clarinet. It reminds me of my European heritage where Mozart is central and why I couldn't live without classical chamber music.

Che Faro Sensa Euridice (from Orfeo by C W Gluck): Andreas Scholl

This is a heart rending story of love and loss sung by the greatest counter tenor in the world.

Scholl has the voice of angels. Clear as a bell combined with deep emotion. I listen to this and no other thoughts come into my mind.  He holds me in thrall.

L'Anno Che Vera: Lucio Dalla

This Italian rock pianist sings poignantly and gruffly in honour of those who died in the bombing of the Bologna railway station.  He invokes the life of ordinary Italians after the bombing and then paints a beautiful idealistic picture of what life could be.

" A world where the deaf can hear, everyone can love as they wish and it will be a festival every day.

"Even priests will be able to marry...but only at a certain age."  How prescient was he?

Shostakovitch, 2nd piano concerto: Maxim Shostakovitch

I only have to hear a few notes and I recognise this wonderfully joyous and cheeky concerto.

The bold use of percussion combines with wonderfully with the ebullient and completely original piano part.

The 2nd movement is the most romantic movement of piano music for me and invokes peace in my heart.

I am then jolted back to the joyous third movement which is exciting and enthralling. I love to muse on what was in this great compose'rs mind when he was composing under a repressive Soviet regime.

This work embodies a spirit of optimism and fighting back against authoritarian dictats.

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  • Would you consider planning your funeral?
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    • 69%Yes
    • 31%No (expect my close family to take responsibility)