Artist Playlist: Toby Thatcher

Across the 2013/14 season we’ll be giving you a glimpse into the musical fascinations of the artists we’re working with. Ahead of our performance of Stockhausen’s monumental work Gruppen at the Royal Festival Hall this coming Sunday, we asked oboist Toby Thatcher to tell us what’s currently on his ipod. 

Schoenberg: Kammersymphonie No. 2 Op. 38

This is a work that has fascinated me for some time, owing in part to how infrequently it is performed. A wonderful demonstration of his earlier styles, but also a fascinating insight into his thought process, given he initially discarded the work and later returned to complete it (even toying with the idea of a third movement, which he eventually rejected). The manic and slightly demonic waltz elements of the second movement are as convincing an ear-worm as I am yet to find.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 8 in F Major Op. 93

As with the Schoenberg, I am currently preparing this Symphony to conduct later in the year. The fact that both are currently inspiring me is due in part to the fact that fragments of each are constantly playing inside my head. Beethoven’s Eighth possesses a raw energy which can’t help but fill me with zeal and vivacity.

Mahler: Symphony No. 5

Need I say any more? A work (as is also the case with his other symphonies if I’m honest) that never fails to draw me into my imagination. There is nothing better than Mahler to remove you from the drudgeries of a journey on the tube.

Goat Rodeo Sessions

Slightly off-brief, as this is an entire album rather than an individual work, however I couldn’t choose which particular number to select. It is a bluegrass collaboration of Yo-Yo Ma, with a section of extraordinary musicians including Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile, and succeeds in putting a smile on my face every time I listen to it.

Brahms: German Requiem Op. 45

Unlike most of the items on this list, it is utterly serene. Very few things are better of an evening. I also find Brahms’ choice of text inspiring and wonderful.

Mozart: Don Giovanni

If there are two things in the musical world which never cease to fire me up, irrespective of time of day or mood, they’re Mahler symphonies and Mozart operas. Both are represented in this list, though really I could have put in any number of others. Don Giovanni (and currently the recording conducting by Rene Jacobs) is just an extraordinary example of what is possible in the operatic genre. It is a wonderful feeling, after the opening items, when the scene is set, to realise that you still have the entire opera in front of you, despite already feeling musically replete.

Schubert: Winterreise, Op. 89

There are few feelings like being taken by the hand and guided through another world, especially if that world is as brilliantly rendered as Schubert’s bleak, snowy landscape.

Stockhausen’s Gruppen is a landmark in 20th century composition, scored for three independent orchestras and bringing over 100 musicians together on stage: see it to believe it. Click here for tickets or phone the Southbank Centre box office on 0844 875 0073.

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