Artist Playlists: John Constable + Matthew Scott

For today’s edition of Sunday Listening, we asked our Principal Pianist John Constable and Royal Academy of Music clarinettist Matthew Scott to let us in on what they’re listening to. They’ll share the stage on Friday 5 December to celebrate Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s 80th birthday.

John Constable

Principal Pianist of the London Sinfonietta since the ensemble was founded in 1968

1. Zeffiretti Lusinghieri from Mozart’s Idomeneo

I have always loved Idomeneo and particularly Ilia’s arias especially when sung like this by Ileana Cotrubus.

2. Beethoven’s 4th Symphony conducted by Daniel Barenboim

I find Beethoven’s even numbered symphonies incredibly satisfying although the odd numbered ones are the famous ones. Barenboim works wonders with his East-West Divan players.

3. Danse Infernale from Stravinsky’s Firebird played by Daniil Trifonov

I was staggered by Trifonov’s playing – he played the Stravinsky as an encore after a Mozart concerto and what is more he is only 23!

4. Schubert Sonata in B flat D 960 played by Richter

Nobody plays this great sonata like Richter, I can’t stop listening to it.

5. Apollo et Hyacinthus by Henze

This is a typically lovely, lyrical Henze piece with a solo harpsichord part which we performed and recorded with him in the seventies.

6. Pelleas et Melisande Act 1 conducted by Pierre Boulez

I have been playing through the part of Genevieve with Felicity Palmer for a performance with the Philharmonia and it brought back memories of this marvellous performance conducted by Boulez at Covent Garden – how lucky we are to have it on YouTube.

7. Birtwistle’s Violin Concerto played by Christian Tetzlaff

I have listened several times to this beautiful work, thinking of Harry’s upcoming 80th birthday concert on Friday 5 December.

8. Brahms 4 Duets op.28 sung by Janet Baker and Fischer-Dieskau

I have always loved playing Brahms songs and I really enjoy hearing these duets sung by two of the greatest ever lieder singers.

9. Master Peter’s Puppet Show by de Falla

To me this is the best piece of Spanish music ever written and it was inspiring to record it with Simon Rattle. The above version is by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra but you can listen to our London Sinfonietta recording on Spotify.

10.  Bach Prelude and Fugue in E flat minor no.8

Richter again, but I can’t resist it. The most sad but also the most beautiful prelude and fugue that Bach wrote.

Matthew Scott

Clarinettist in the Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble

1. Mussorgsky: Night on the Bare Mountain

A favourite from my childhood, I remember listening to this over and over again. It’s one of the first listening experiences that made me want to learn a musical instrument.

2. Robert Muczynski: Alto Saxophone Sonata, Op.29- II. Allegro energico

Having recently been playing Muczynski’s Time Pieces for clarinet and piano I’ve been eager to discover more of his music. It’s rumoured he had a fascination with all sorts of ‘mechanical time pieces’, which you can hear in his writing, but he continually denied this!

3. Joseph Kosma – Vienna Clarinet Connection: Autumn Leaves

A live recording from the Vienna Clarinet Connection, this is just an incredibly fun piece and performance.

4. Burning Bush: Fun Tashlach

Who doesn’t like a bit of Klezmer?! A personal favourite ever since my flat mate from a couple years back introduced me to this awesome band.

5. “The Pacific” – Hans Zimmer, Geoff Zanelli and Blake Neely: Honor (Main Title Theme)

Powerful music, powerful imagery, powerful message. From Spielberg’s companion series to his 2001 Band of Brothers, the opening title is a great example of the combined impact of music and film.

6. “Star Wars” – John Williams: The Dune Sea of Tatooine/Jawa Sandcrawler (Episode IV. A New Hope) / Across the Stars (Episode II. Attack of the Clones)

You’ve probably realised by now that I love film music. No list of mine is complete without some Star Wars, or any John Williams for that matter! The haunting sounds in The Dune Sea of Tatooine just transport me instantly to a place in that galaxy far, far away….

P.S. getting ready for J. J. Abrams Star Wars: Episode VII. The Force Awakens

7. “Harry Potter”- John Williams: The Knight Bus (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban OST)

I just love this track. The opening bass clarinet motif, the sudden splurge of dissonance and the crazy saxophone runs just sound so cool.

8. Edison Denisov – Martin Frost: Sonata for clarinet- I. Lento, poco rubato / II. Allegro giuste

I’m about to learn this piece so am listening to various recordings to get into his sound world. From the atmospheric, ethereal first movement to the rhythmic drive and schizophrenic scantering of the second, it’s an effective use of the clarinet.

9. Brahms – Reginald Kell and the Busch Quartet: Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op.115- I. Allegro / II. Adagio

On the recommendation of my teacher, just listen to the sheer musicality and singing quality of Kell and the Busch Quartet’s playing. There’s nothing else quite like it.

10. Berlioz: Romeo et Juliette, Op.17- Scene 1a. Combats – Tumulte – Intervention du Prince

It was great to have the opportunity to play this underperformed work at the Academy recently – a real tour de force of orchestral technique. However it was Berlioz’s vivid characterisations and scene setting that captured my imagination.

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