In a new series, members of the RTÉ Concert Orchestra share their own musical favourites...

Today, meet clarinet player Macdara Ó Seireadáin - listen to Macdara's playlist, via Spotify, and read more about his picks below...

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Thomas Tallis Spem in Alium – Tallis Scholars

Many aeons ago, I trained as a boy soprano and was a member of RTÉ Cór na nÓg, and ever since then I've had a great fondness for choral music. This incredible work is written for forty voices in total, made up of eight choirs, each consisting of five voices, and considered one of the great pieces of early music. It's just absolutely beautiful music and is my go-to piece whenever I feel the need to take some time out of my schedule and just enjoy being in the moment – something that happens more often than I'd like to admit!

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Liam O’Flynn - Aisling Gheal

My own favourite recording is taken from the album The Poet and the Piper, featuring Seamus Heaney reading his own poetry and Liam O’Flynn performing a number of traditional tunes. The album itself was a Christmas present, and is one that I listen to often. Heaney’s poetry has always been a favourite of mine and the uilleann pipes are one of my favourite instruments (so much so that I bought a set to try to learn!), and are masters of the slow air. It makes it onto my list for a few reasons – because it was a present that I still get enjoyment from, many years later; it also reminds me of childhood trips to the Gaeltacht in Connemara and of that part of my heritage, which is very important to me. The recording on the Spotify list is also great, it’s Iarla Ó Lionáird from Aislingí Ceol.

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Dream Theatre - Untethered Angel

Nearly everything on my list is classical but I always make an effort to listen to as wide a range of music as possible. Dream Theatre are just an incredible band, and one I could listen to all day. Their music is really complex, and I really admire their precision, individual virtuosity, and use of harmony. One thing that further drew me to them was watching their auditions for a new drummer and how they approached the whole process, including their assessing of individual players and the detail of their feedback. For me, their music is what I put on when I need to get around to doing something that I've been putting off for ages and need a kick in the right direction. It’s high-energy and driving – something I'd need after all the rest of the music choices!

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Fritz Wunderlich/Hubert Giesen - Dichterliebe, Live in Salzburg 1965

Fritz Wunderlich is one of my favourite singers and I could make a list featuring just him; however, I'll limit myself to just one. Although there are a number of excellent recordings out there, for my own tastes, the sheer beauty of his voice, and the nuances, delicacy, and intensity of this live interpretation is unmatched. My own memories of the piece begin with studying it as a student in the Royal Irish Academy of Music. At the time, despite Deborah Kelleher’s best efforts, I didn't appreciate it quite as much as I should have, and it took a move to Germany for postgraduate studies to be able to appreciate it fully. It was in heavy rotation on my iPod during my studies in Germany and whilst travelling between Ireland and Germany over the last number of years, and is a piece I lose myself in thought to whilst listening to.

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Sabine Meyer/Alban Berg Quartet - Brahms, Clarinet Quintet 

Brahms had retired from composing before hearing the clarinetist Richard Mühlfeld performing in Meiningen, inspiring him to return to writing. He would leave the clarinet world with four masterpieces – two sonatas, a trio and a quintet. The quintet is deeply personal, melancholy, and written by someone reflecting on a long life. I've heard it live numerous times as well as performed it a number of times, and every single time there is something new to be discovered. It’s a piece of music that constantly astonishes me and one I could listen constantly to without ever growing tired of. Sabine Meyer was a huge inspiration to me growing up and I listened obsessively to her recordings. I'm particularly fond of this version as it captures that special atmosphere of a live performance, and the whole piece flows continuously from the very first phrase until the applause at the end.

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Elisabeth Schwarzkopf/George Szell/RSO Berlin Strauss, Four Last Songs 

Continuing on the theme as with Brahms, these songs were written towards the end of Strauss’s life, and are, with the exception of Malven, his last completed works. Although, like the Brahms quintet, it's written with a sense of melancholy, in this case it's more as someone looking back contentedly at a life well lived and taking leave of the public sphere. It's hard to imagine a more beautiful setting of a text to music. It appears on my list as it's a work I grew up listening to and is one I reach for whenever I am in a contemplative mood. Every time I put on a recording of them, I end up stopping whatever I'm doing and focus completely on them.

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The St Petra Russian Symphony Orchestra, Mozart, Serenade No. 10 Gran Partita   

It’s hard to pick just one piece by Mozart to include on this list, and I am leaving out both of his clarinet masterpieces by not picking his concerto or quintet. Chamber music is something I really enjoy doing, as it's music-making on the deepest level. No matter the language barrier, you can sit down with any musicians and communicate effortlessly. Mozart’s music is always poised and perfectly balanced, with frequent moments of melancholy and sorrow, but with an infectious sense of mischief and joy too that never fails to put a smile on my face. During my studies in Hanover, I was a member of a clarinet quartet, and we performed an arrangement of this at festivals in Germany. This Serenade is full of so many different characters, and I always find myself coming back to it after not listening to it for months. It's one I tend to listen to when I’m travelling on a long train journey or flight and want to spend time looking out the window and daydreaming.

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Wagner, Götterdämmerung – Brunnhilde’s Immolation

I've been lucky enough to perform the full Ring Cycle five times, and there are so many extraordinary moments throughout that it is difficult to pick just one part of it but the ending of the final opera is perhaps the greatest moment of all. It's the culmination of all sixteen hours of music that has gone before, bringing the whole story to a close and forging the world anew. It's a work that I played whilst working in Austria and last year in Germany, and reminds me of summers spent working in the Austrian alps, whilst living on a farm. Aside from performing and rehearsing, my days were filled with mountain-climbing, visiting the local fetes, and travelling around the spectacular countryside (and helping milk cows on the off days!). It was the last big orchestral piece I played during my time in Kiel before moving back to Ireland and joining the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and so it also serves as a bookend to one chapter of my life and the beginning of another.

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Read more from Inside Tracks here.