Continuing our series of #SundaySoundtrack Isolation Playlists, Royal Ballet Sinfonia Principal Tuba David Gordon-Shute talks us through his selection.
1. Short ride in a Fast Machine – Adams
I fell in love with the music of John Adams as a teenager in the National Youth Orchestra and then was fortunate enough to work with him a number of times. At one point, he even asked my advice about using a tuba mute – it took me a while to calm down after that! He has written so much amazing music but the most enduring and appealing piece for audiences everywhere has to be Short Ride. It's such an adrenaline rush of a piece - he describes being driven around the windy, cliff roads of California in a friend's sports car. I think that he was a little scared.
2. Final scene of Der Rosenkavalier - R. Strauss
Richard Strauss seems to inhabit the Romantic era of music composition like a giant. He not only composed some of the most beautiful music but he also kept his mind open to new things constantly. The way that he divides the string section up into multiple different voices instead of just four sections always makes me want to cry. As he got older, his music became edgier too. Something like Salome has some scrunchy, modern chords in it that a younger Strauss would have turned his nose up to. This final scene from Rosenkavalier celebrates the female voice in all its glory. I defy you not to be moved.
3. Overture The Roots of Heaven – Arnold
Well we have to hear the Royal Ballet Sinfonia playing don’t we? And Arnold, is someone who I have got to know well over the years. If you can manage to be classified as a ‘light’ composer, yet still defer to the beautiful folk tunes in British Heritage whilst also composing something as dark as his Seventh Symphony, then you need a bit of a medal, I think. His brass music and wind band music is gorgeous but here he is using our orchestra (in 1998) and creating his usual sparkles.
4. Send in the Clowns - from A Little Night Music - Sondheim
I have always considered myself to be a frustrated musical actor. I still go and see West Side Story and wait for the call for someone from the audience to play the part of Tony as the regular actor is suddenly ill. I don’t think that’s going to happen though, sadly. I was very lucky a few years ago and went to see A Little Night Music at the National Theatre and when Judi Dench came on to sing this, you only had to look around and see all the tears streaming down people's faces (as well as mine) to see that not everyone has to have a voice like Renée Fleming. We love you Judi!
5. Mr. Nicholas Gryffith his Galliard - Dowland arr. Jackson
As a tuba player, you really do not get to immerse yourself in very old, musical worlds all that often. The only chance to play music from the Renaissance and Baroque is if it gets arranged specifically for you. Luckily, in Onyx Brass my brass group (with Amos, Royal Ballet Sinfonia Principal Trombone) this has happened quite regularly. This short dance by Dowland fizzes off the page with darting counter-point. I think that he would have liked how the brass make it sound.