Wealden Times is sending three music teachers to a desert island for their half-term break (don't worry, parents, we'll be rescuing them at the end of the week!) Each castaway is allowed just four pieces of music on their i-player and just one luxury to keep them going …
Director of Music
Wellesley House School
What's your first disc and why have you chosen it? As I am only being marooned for a week, I don't have to worry about overexposure to any of the music and so I can choose more freely than if I were away for longer. My choices, then: First, 'Scherezade' by Rimsky-Korsakov, a musical setting of the '1001 Nights'. The haunting melody, from a work called 'The Sea and Sinbad's Ship', will suit a lovely tropical island. What is your second? Rodrigo's 'Concerto de Aranjuez' for guitar. Okay, so more Iberian than tropical, but beautiful listened to on a yacht in the Aegean. Your third? Bach Mass in B minor – described by Goethe as 'the greatest musical work of all time'. What can I add? And your fourth? Ravel: 'Gaspard de la Nuit', preferably performed by Evgeny Kissin. Reputedly the most technically challenging work in all the piano repertoire, it has been mastered by few. You're allowed just one luxury (it must be inanimate and of no use in allowing communication with the mainland). What will it be? Snorkel, mask and flippers to enjoy the coral reefs.
Wellesley House School, Broadstairs, 01843 862991
Director of Music
What’s your first disc and why have you chosen it? William Walton – Symphony no. 1, 1st Movement Allegro Assai London Symphony Orchestra – cond. André Previn. The first time I became aware of the sheer emotional power of music was when I was a very young child and we listened to Walton’s first symphony in the car whilst driving round the Dorset countryside. I remember being totally transfixed by the fact that there was not a single dull moment throughout the entire movement. This is music I just couldn’t live without.
What is your second? Edwyn Collins - The Magic Piper of Love. The Austin Powers soundtrack, of all things, was the soundtrack to my second year at university. The Magic Piper of Love was the first track on the album and whenever I hear the opening notes of the flute solo which starts that song, I am immediately transported back to university. It makes me think of London and of there being so much to look forward to.
Your third? Henry Purcell – When I am laid in earth from Dido and Aeneas. Emma Kirkby and the Academy of Ancient Music cond. Christopher Hogwood. Dido and Aeneas was the very first opera I ever saw and I have been in love with it ever since. I trained as a composer and even wrote my own opera based on the timeless bass line which underpins this aria. This is music which is so perfectly constructed and yet this perfection never lessens the music’s emotional impact.
And your fourth? Sir Peter Maxwell Davies – The Lighthouse. The Fires of London – cond. Peter Maxwell Davies. I was lucky enough to study composition with Peter Maxwell Davies. During that period we went to see a production of his opera, The Lighthouse. For me this was small-scale opera at its best: the perfect match of music and drama. Its tale of three lighthouse keepers in Orkney is weird, quirky and even disturbing at times, but its message is clear and profound.
You’re allowed just one luxury (it must be inanimate and of no use in allowing communication with the mainland). What will it be?I hope I’m allowed my luxury… I would like to take an upright piano stuffed with manuscript paper, coffee and crystallised ginger. That way I could still compose while keeping myself going on luxurious goodies!
Walthamstow Hall, Sevenoaks, 01732 451334
Head of Music
Sutton Valence School
What’s your first disc and why have you chosen it? The very first LP I was given as a child was a recording of Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. This is a great introduction to all the different musical instruments and it encouraged me to take up the oboe. I believe all children should have the opportunity to learn an instrument and perform with others. The confidence and sense of achievement that this inspires makes teaching music so worthwhile.
What is your second? The sixties was an interesting decade to grow up in and I remember the excitement surrounding the emergence of The Beatles. The originality of their songs sets them apart, and McCartney has a real gift for writing melodies. These are good to arrange and I have used them for choirs and the orchestra at Sutton Valence Preparatory School; the children really enjoy them. Hey Jude is one of my particular favourites.
Your third? My list would have to include some Mozart. In his short, and in many ways, tragic life this composer produced some truly great music. Children relate well to Mozart: he was already composing and performing when a child himself. I have chosen the final movement of the Jupiter Symphony. From deceptively simple themes, Mozart creates a work of incredible intricacy and complexity, which at the same time is exciting and uplifting. Sheer magic!
And your fourth? I would definitely not want to be without the sound of children’s voices on the island. I have always found that most children love to sing. It is the most natural form of musical expression for them and, with the right training and encouragement, they can achieve a high level of performance. We have four choirs at Sutton Valence Prep, so to choose one song is difficult. However, I think a recent recording of our choristers singing How can I keep from singing? really says it all.
You’re allowed just one luxury (it must be inanimate and of no use in allowing communication with the mainland). What will it be? My first thought for my luxury would be a grand piano, to help me while away the many hours of solitude. However it wouldn’t stay in tune very long, given the conditions on the island, so I would take my cello in order to do some serious practice. I took this up later in life and still have a long way to go. It’s a good reminder of what it feels like to be a beginner!
Sutton Valence School, Sutton Valence, 01622 845200 / 01622 842117