Heyford Singers – Desert Island Discs – June 2020

Desert Island Discs – your choices

Below is another selection of favourite music chosen by one of our readers. We
thoroughly enjoyed reading and listening to this choice, so thank you Mick.

Jill Langrish

Mick Watts’ Desert Island Discs – May 2020

I never realised quite how difficult it would be to choose just 8 pieces of music – almost every piece brings back memories of certain times and places. I have chosen 8 classical pieces and 8 more popular compositions and as the choices are so tenuous have placed them in alphabetical order. If pushed for just eight I would choose those with the *.

*Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor
Abba – I have a Dream
*Carly Simon – No Secrets
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major
*Dire Straits – So Far Away
Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
*Joaquin Rodrigo – Concierto de Aranjuez
Dire Straits – Money for Nothing
*Ludovico Einaudi – Divenire
Dire Straits – Sultans of Swing
*Steeleye Span – Thomas the Rhymer
Fairport Convention – Sir Patrick Spens
*The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again
Ludovico Einaudi – Andare
*Wagner – Overture to Tanhäuser
Ludovico Einaudi – Oltremare

Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 3 in C Minor is arguably the best piano composition of all time. Such virtuosity required to play. First heard it live at the Birmingham Symphony Hall, conducted and played by Vladimir Ashkenazy. A bit disappointing really as he was seemingly not able to give his full attention to either the orchestra or the piano and his antics rather distracted from the overall performance. But then, quite recently, I heard both piano concertos 3 and 4 played by Krystian Zimerman with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein, which were absolutely sublime and would be an extremely hard act to follow. Those are the recordings I have chosen.

On the other page so to speak is the contemporary concert pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi. I have several of his CD’s and had tried, with limited success, to replicate some of his compositions on our piano. My excuse is that he must have a very large finger span. Anyway, I went to the Birmingham Town Hall to see his concert with my elder daughter and having fought our way through a jam packed Christmas market only just made it in time. It was as expected a brilliant performance and it was just as if his hands were hovering over the keyboard yet this magnificent sound was produced. I would need to play 8 hours a day for 10 years of lockdown to come close.

What can I say? Virtuoso guitar performances by Mark Knoppler. Just magical. We used to put the Brothers in Arms audio cassette on when we travelled down to Devon when the girls were quite young. They always said “can we have the Whoo Hoo song” (The Walk of Life) and they laughed and giggled for ages. It certainly delayed the cries of “are we nearly there yet”. With so many people in enforced isolation the song I have chosen could be rather apt but the Brothers in Arms track would be just great as a finale.

The sheer volume generated by The Who is almost enough to blow your brains out. A classic.

And the Overture to Tanhäuser by Wagner always makes my neck hairs stand up.

Last year we went to The Stables at Wavendon near Milton Keynes to see the 50th Anniversary tour of the reformed Steeleye Span, wondering if they may have lost a bit of magic. We need not have worried as they were great. Jessie May Smart, the classically trained violinist in their latest line up brought a new dimension to the band and harmonised well with Maddy Prior. Again a difficult choice of their repertoire – The Wife of Ushers Well and 700 Elves just losing out.

Carly Simon is in another class act – she had such a vocal range. A recent TV programme entitled ‘No Secrets’ was indeed apt and showed that she certainly led a full, uninhibited life as many of her songs portray. Her voice is still fantastic.

Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez is for me one of the most relaxing guitar pieces ever. You can close your eyes and be transported.

Mick Watts


If you would like to find out more, visit the Heyford Singers page or our website:


 alternatively come along to one of our rehearsals in Nether Heyford Village Hall.



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