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Sir David Willcocks

Sue Lawley's castaway is choirmaster Sir David Willcocks.

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is 'England's choir master', Sir David Willcocks. For some 38 years he trained the Bach Choir - the most popular amateur choir in Britain. His retirement in 1998 he describes as ""like the end of an affair"". As the Director of Music at Kings College Cambridge, he tranformed small boys with dirty knees into an angelic choir. His gift is a mix of natural talent and experience. At the age of eight he joined the choir school at Westminster Abbey, where he was conducted by Elgar. Later, he worked closely with Vaughan Williams whose humility and humour he remembers, produced some masterful performances.

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

Favourite track: Oh Sacred Head by Johann Sebastian Bach
Book: Book on astronomy
Luxury: King's College Chapel

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 22 May 1998 09:00

Music Played

  • George Frideric Handel

    Zadok the Priest

    • The World of King’s.
    • Decca.
  • Boris Ord

    Adam lay i-bounden (from Ceremony of Carols)

    • A Festival of Lessons & Carols from King’s.
    • EMI Classics.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Dies irae (from War Requiem)

    • War Requiem.
    • Decca.
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

    • English String Music.
    • EMI.
  • Gregorio Allegri


    Performer: Roy Goodman. Choir: Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Conductor: Sir David Willcocks.
    • The World of King’s.
    • Decca.
  • Castaway's Favourite

    • Johann Sebastian Bach

      St Matthew Passion - O Haupt voll Blut

      • St Matthew Passion.
      • ASV.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Serenade No. 13 in G major 'Eine kleine Nachtmusik' - 4th movement

    Orchestra: The Hanover Band. Conductor: Roy Goodman.
    • Mozart.
    • Nimbus.
  • Jonathan Willcocks

    The Holly and the Ivy

    • The Bach Choir Family Carols.
    • Chandos.
  • Book Choice

    • Book on astronomy

  • Luxury Choice

    • King’s College Chapel


Role Contributor
Presenter Sue Lawley
Interviewed Guest Sir David Willcocks


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