Andrew O'Brien's Desert Island Discs - March 2019

  • Posted on: 16 April 2019
  • By: huw

Andrew O'Brien joined Royston Choral Society as Musical Director in September 2015 making no concessions in his choice of concert content, to this being an unauditioned community choir. In his first year with the RCS the choir successfully tackled Brahms’ A German Requiem and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. In 2016 Andrew became Director of Music at Haileybury School.
Andrew is a professional tenor, teacher and conductor. He completed his MA in Visual and Performing Arts at Kings College London in 2004. After further studies at the Guildhall School of Music and the University of East Anglia he went on to tour internationally before joining Heath Mount School, where he led the Music Department for three years, taking them to win the BBC Songs of Praise Junior School Choir of the Year 2012.

Here is Andrew's selection of music for Desert Island Discs with his comments on each of them. Follow the links to listen to each of the pieces.

Oscar Peterson ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ – just beautiful. He is an amazing pianist, amazingly sensitive with a great piano sound.

Stevie Wonder ‘Superstition’ – of course! The song is a banger and the best way to get a room moving!

Beethoven Symphony no. 5 - conducted by Kleiber an outstanding recording of a watershed symphony. The sound of the recording is incredible and the Vienna Philharmonic sound stunning. There is a rich string sound which is beautifully articulated and coupled with amazing horn colours. I don’t think anyone has matched this recording.

Byrd – Ave Verum Corpus – performed by the Tallis Scholars this piece is perfect in every way.

Bach St Matthew Passion – in the first chorus the orchestral opening pulls at my heart strings and then the chorus enter! The whole work is a masterpiece!

Schubert The Müller Cycle – Gute Nacht My favourite recording by Fritz Wunderlich on DG is unfortunately not available online. He has a stunning voice, and the last song is particularly sublime. My favourite composer sung by one of the great tenors.

Britten Serenade for tenor, horn and strings – the last song from the cycle is particularly moving. This is a brilliant setting of a brilliant poem.

Finzi Dies Natalis – ‘The Salutation’ A remarkable setting of some remarkable poetry. Browns recording is simple and full of humanity. This last song ‘The Salutation’ is particularly beautiful.