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Thomas Quasthoff

Thomas Quasthoff

Broadcast

First broadcast: Sun 01 Feb 2009

Opera singer - bass-baritone

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is the bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff. He has performed in concert halls the world over under the batons of the finest conductors and, while he made his name as a Lieder singer, he's equally popular for his jazz, spiritual and gospel recordings.

Music critics say he is "one of the great singers of our time and one of the most remarkable of any time." That his life has been remarkable is a reference to his disability: he was born suffering the effects of Thalidomide and although his early musical talent was spotted, his inability to play the piano meant he was not allowed to take up a place at a conservatoire.

In this candid and moving interview, though, he describes how, with his family's support, he went on to build a highly successful career. Now, living contentedly with his wife and daughter, he says his life is a full and satisfying one. He adds that when he sees how readily people become consumed by envy and resentment, he questions whether that too isn't a kind of disability.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Choices

Gary Burton and Chick Corea

1.

Gary Burton and Chick Corea

I'm Your Pal

Frédéric Chopin

2.

Frédéric Chopin

Polonaise in C sharp minor, Op. 26/1

Others who chose this artist

Franz Schubert

3.

Franz Schubert

Das Wirthaus (The Tavern) (from Winterreise)

Others who chose this artist

Johann Sebastian Bach

7.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Cantata No. 82: Ich habe genug

Others who chose this artist

Gustav Mahler

8.

Castaway's favourite

Gustav Mahler

Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor- 4th movement (Adagietto)

Composer: Gustav Mahler Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor: Simon Rattle

Others who chose this artist

Book

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Others who chose this author

Luxury item

Good wine

Others who chose a similar luxury

Occupations

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