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John Rutter

Sue Lawley's castaway is composer John Rutter.

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the composer John Rutter. He is the most celebrated and successful composer of carols alive today and this Christmas his music will be heard in concerts and churches all over the world. He is drawn to the simplicity of Christmas carols and says he loves being able to compose 'a hummable tune'.

Inspired and encouraged by his school education, he became Director of Music at Clare College, Cambridge, and then with a string of winning commissions already behind him, moved into full time composition. But his relationship with composition is a difficult one - it's a process he finds isolating and says that although it does not make him happy - he feels compelled to do it. However, once he has finished a work he says nothing in the world compares with the feeling he experiences when he conducts it for the first time. He says: "I write music that people will enjoy singing. I'm not ashamed of that".

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Gloria in Excelsis Deo from B Minor Mass by Johann Sebastian Bach
Book: Teach yourself mathematics illustrated by voluptuous women
Luxury: Viola

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 30 Dec 2005 09:00

Music Played

  • Gustav Holst & Christina Rossetti

    In the Bleak Midwinter

    Conductor: Sir David Willcocks

    • Noel: Christmas at King's College, Cambridge.
    • Decca.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Prelude to Part 3 (from The Creation)

    Choir: English Baroque Soloists Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner

    • Haydn: The Creation.
    • Archiv.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Johann Sebastian Bach

      Mass in B minor - Gloria in excelsis

      Orchestra: The Chorus and Orchestra of the Colegium Vocale Conductor: Phillippe Herreweghe

      • Bach: Mass in B Minor.
      • Harmonia Mundi.
  • William Walton

    Epilogue (from Henry V)

    Soloist: Sir Laurence Olivier Orchestra: The Philharmonia Orchestra Conductor: William Walton

    • Henry V.
    • EMI.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, K478 - 3rd movement

    Soloist: Benjamin Britten, Kenneth Sillito, Cecil Aronowitz and Kenneth Heath

    • Mozart: Piano Concerto No.27.
    • BBC.
  • Jack Cassidy

    Almost Like Being In Love

    • Embraceable You - Broadway in Love.
    • Sony Broadway.
  • Sergey Rachmaninov

    Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor -3rd movement

    Orchestra: Concertgebouw Orchestra Conductor: Vladimir Ashkenazy

    • Rachmaninov: Symphonies 1-3.
    • Decca.
  • The Cambridge Singers

    Keep Me as the Apple of An Eye from the Office of Compline

    Conductor: John Rutter

    • Brother Sun, Sister Moon.
    • American Gramophone Records.
  • Book Choice

    • Teach yourself mathematics illustrated by voluptuous women

  • Luxury Choice

    • Viola


Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest John Rutter


  • Christmas Day 2005 11:15
  • Fri 30 Dec 2005 09:00

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