Ian Sanders' Desert Island Discs

  • Posted on: 21 November 2020
  • By: huw

When the Royston Choral Society is in action, Ian is a tenor. Here he explains his desert island selection…

This was far from an easy job because the music I like covers a wide range of genres. Choosing just eight pieces was nigh on impossible. So I have selected not necessarily my favourite pieces but music that made lasting impressions at various times. Roughly in chronological order these are:

Wash Me Throughly - Wesley
The first 12 years of my life were spent in Tiverton (about 15 miles north of Exeter) where latterly I was in the choir of the parish church of St Peters. Looking back this was not for any religious or altruistic reasons but because one got paid for turning up. I must have sung this anthem several times, one time in particular singing the soprano solo intro.

Every Time We Say Goodbye – Ella Fitzgerald
My elder brother introduced me to Ella Fitzgerald amongst other artists. This number is from one of the Cole Porter Songbook albums of the mid 50’s and is one of many iconic Ella recordings from that era.

Angel Eyes – Dave Brubeck Quartet
One of my early girlfriends was a Brubeck fan. This would have been around the time that Take 5 was in the Hit Parade! I chose this track for both the solos - one by DB himself and the other a simply sublime performance by Paul Desmond on alto sax.

Piece Heroique – Franck
Whilst a student at Birmingham University in the mid 60’s, I often went to CBSO concerts in the Town Hall and more often the Monday lunchtime organ recitals given by George Thalben-Ball (knighted much later). For a short time I also got into French organ music of the type best played on the monumental Cavaille-Coll cathedral organs, At our wedding we even had the Widor Toccata instead of the obligatory Mendelssohn (the organist at Bournville made a passable job of it.) This was one of G T-B’s party pieces.

Don’t Smoke in Bed – Josh White
Alongside jazz I also appreciate Blues, from its earliest beginnings through to 60’s R&B. If I am to be marooned on a desert island, I will need some humour and this track is fun.

Nature Boy – Nat King Cole
This one needs some explanation. The 70’s and 80’s whizzed by with little or no development in my music appreciation – too busy raising a family and furthering career I suspect. In particular no singing, that is apart from in the shower and the occasional karaoke (when suitably lubricated!) About 25 years ago at a party in Barkway, and after a few too many, I stupidly agreed to join the Barkway Players – I have been with them ever since. My singing debut was this number as a duet between two Genies in Aladdin. I seem to remember that I was also cast as a John Major lookalike!!! DO NOT ASK WHY. However, if you really want to know I can provide a semi-pathetic answer.

Benedictus from Mozart's Requiem
No list can be complete without the Requiem. The problem is which Chorus or Aria to choose. Despite the debate about how much of it he actually wrote before his death, and what others have done to complete it since, there are several passages that no one other than Mozart could have possibly written. This is just one of them.

String Quartet no 2 – Boccherini
I have always adored chamber music. Bocch was my father’s favourite composer and he used to play bits and pieces of his compositions from ancient piano tutors, including bits from the first movement of this quartet.

As stated earlier these pieces are not necessarily my top favourites but if pushed to choose one from the above it would have to be the Mozart - provided I could have a recording of the whole lot.

I believe it was also in Roy Plomley’s original format that a castaway was given copies of the Bible and the Complete Works of Shakespeare plus one luxury item. My luxury would be a box set of all five Beethoven String Quintets.