Thursday 6 June 2013

Liberace's 'Desert Island Disc' choices

Oh blow! Enough of this shilly-shallying! Further to my blog of yesterday, let's now get this over and done with before I bore myself to death in a fog of torpitude.

Liberace's disc choices in this 1960 radio programme were:-

1) Rachmaninov - 18th variation from 'Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini' - the composer as soloist.

2) Tchaikowsky - Violin Concerto (soloist's 1st movement entry) - Jascha Heifetz as soloist.

3) Rimsky Korsakov - Scheherezade - opening of 4th movement, Sir Thomas Beecham conducting.

4) Glen Miller - 'Hallelujah'

5) Mantovani - 'September Song'  [one of two selections, along with Nr 8, of compositions by Kurt Weill].

6) R.Strauss - 'Death and Transfiguration', conducted by Bruno Walter

7) Puccini - La Boheme, Mimi's death scene - Renate Tebaldi

8) Frank Sinatra - 'Lost in the Stars' (title song from Weill/Anderson musical)  [a show of which I've never heard].

If he was forced to make do with only one of the above it would be the Rachmaninov.

His chosen luxury was, predictably, a piano - and his book of choice was 'The Magic of Believing' by Claude M. Bristol.

He felt his biggest consolation in leaving the world behind and to have to live alone on an isolated desert island, would be that he'd have no need to dress. "I hate dressing!" he said. (Who would have thought it!)

His biggest phobia was of bugs - flies, spiders, mosquitos etc.

His unfulfilled ambition at this time was to appear in a 'show' and in films as an actor. (Hardly a surprise that that was never realised!)

He liked to 'create things ' - and he loved fishing and gardening.

And that's it!


  1. WHAT, NO CHOPIN? colour ME surprised.

    1. Yes, that's one of the unexpected omissions, A.M. I was also taken aback by how much his list is 'serious' classical music dominated, having expected more of a light, 'relaxing-in-candlelight' mood.

  2. His ambition of appearing in a film as an actor was realized. In the 50's he made a film called "Sincerely Yours," a remake of "The Man Who Played God" which, surprisingly, bombed at the box office. I saw this movie many years ago on VHS tape and enjoyed it quite a bit. The movie has been missing for years. Because of "Candelabra" it has just recently been released on DVD. If I recall correctly, this is the one where he pounds the keys for "Beer Barrel Polka" a delight to watch him perform.

    1. Paul, I've just looked this up - and, as you partly suggest, it was actually made in 1955, five years before this programme - so maybe he himself was aware that it wasn't anything 'special', certainly not enough even to have mentioned it.
      In one of my film ref volumes two pithy comments are quoted:-
      "Drenched in coy bathos to the point of embarrassment." (From 'Films and Filming') and -
      "Given sufficient intoxication, you could find this film amusing." ('Saturday Review' )
      - both of which make me intrigued enough to see it out of curiosity. Though as you actually "enjoyed it" then there must have been something there.

  3. Mr Liberace is an odd bird, who hasn't stood the test of time; there is no ongoing fan base, and he left no 'memorable tunes'. I find neither the gays nor the straights want to claim him. I see the matter overall as sort of sad.

    1. I agree. Since his death it's as though he never existed - and I suspect that a large part of it was his living out a public lie right to the very end, which he continued to think would delude the public and his fans, when in fact he was the one who was being deluded. Yes, it is sad - particularly as his sheer excess of flamboyant showmanship has never been equalled.