Continuing our series of Artist Playlists in the lead up to Sunday’s performance of Gruppen by Stockhausen, we asked one of its three conductors to let us in on what he’s listening to.
Björk: Play Dead
I saw Björk live in Manchester and have listened to her music ever since. Also Iceland is an amazing country, full of creative people and a Stockhausenesque level of inventiveness in music.
Domenico Scarlatti: Sonatas
Incredibly free and daring music. This recording makes you feel you sit next to Scarlatti when he improvises.
Mahler: Symphony No 7
I was at the concert when the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Claudio Abbado played this live in Lucerne, a few years ago. One of the best tickets I ever bought and one of the best orchestral concerts I ever heard. The playing was out of this world – and Abbado, for me, is the greatest living conductor.
Rafael Escalona: La Casa en el Aire
When I was the music director of the Colombian National Orchestra, we played at Escalona’s funeral. The president and all the important people of the cultural world were there. Vallenato is like a religion in Colombia, and I’ll never forget the atmosphere in the Cathedral in Bogota when we played La Casa en el Aire (The House in the Clouds) at the end of the service. In spite of the occasion there is an incredible celebration of life in Colombian music.
Schnittke: Concerto for Choir
I love a cappella choral music. Bruckner’s Christus factus est was the first piece I ever conducted. Russian Orthodox chants have a real spiritual power, but this goes a step further by combining the old harmonies with contemporary techniques.
Romitelli: An Index of Metals
I’ll conduct this piece twice this season. Once at Theater an der Wien with Barbara Hannigan and Klangforum and once at the Borealis Festival with Christina Daletska and Bit 20. Since I first heard it, I’ve become addicted to all the grit, the distortion and the pure hallucinations in the music. Romitelli sounds like nobody else.
Linkin Park: Bleed It Out
The Killers: Human
Foo Fighters: The Pretender
I’ve put these three together, because they are all on my workout playlist! Foo Fighters often makes me run the last mile that bit faster…
Carmen Linares: Toma este Puñal Dorado
I live in Madrid above a tablao, a Flamenco local, but the best place to listen to this music is really in Andalusia. There are the values of the segunda republica in Flamenco, the passion for life and a lot of middle eastern melancholy. With Carmen Linares I conducted the first version of El Amor Brujo, some time ago, and her interpretation was unforgettable. Spanish art and artists have a torrid time at the moment, but this song is a little monument to the spirit and force of Spanish popular culture.
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.