For more than ten years, Mad About Music has delved into the musical heart of some of the world’s most celebrated and influential personalities. The guest list includes Jimmy Carter, Alan Alda, Valery Gergiev, Condoleezza Rice, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Isaac Mizrahi, Tom Brokaw, Renee Fleming, Antonin Scalia and Patrick Stewart. Created and hosted by Gilbert Kaplan, Mad About Music’s format is part interview, part musical performance. Guests select five musical works and discuss why those pieces are important to them. The interviews are always personal – and often humorous - as some of the world’s most famous people reveal aspects of their personalities largely unknown to the public.
Best-selling author KEN FOLLETT on happiness and Mozart:
"If you had to pick the person who has brought the most happiness to the most people in the history of the human race, it would have to be Mozart. All those tunes, such good tunes, such a variety of tunes. Mozart is probably the greatest man ever, in my pantheon. His music is like a fix, there's a rush. It makes you want to jump up and say, 'Yes! Life is just terrific, isn't it? Thank you, Mozart!'"
George Frideric Handel: Messiah. Excerpt. Academy and Chorus of St. Martin in the Fields. Sir Neville Marriner. Jerry Hadley.
Willie Dixon: "(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man". Stranger than Fiction Album. Ken Follett (lead vocal, bass, acoustic guitar).
Ludwig van Beethoven: Für Elise. Vladimir Ashkenazy, Piano. Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Sir Georg Solti.
Attorney ALAN DERSHOWITZ on discovering opera at the Met for 50 cents:
"Early in my life, I fell in love with opera. For a nickel, I got right on the train in Borough Park in Brooklyn, and I was at 40th Street and the Metropolitan Opera in no time at all. In those days, if you had a score of the opera with you, you could get in for $.50. I couldn't read music, but I went to the library, the public library, and I borrowed scores of operas and was given chairs with lights over them. I must have gone to fifteen or twenty operas that way and I just fell in love with the Met and continue to go to opera all the time."
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64. Fourth Movement: Coda. Vienna Philharmonic. Valery Gergiev.
George Gershwin: Porgy & Bess. "Summertime." 1951 Studio Recording conducted by Lehman Engel. June McMechen.
Guiseppe Verdi: Don Carlo "Dio, che nell'alma infondere amor." Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra. Carlo Maria Giulini. Sherill Milnes. Placido Domingo.
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C minor. Fifth Movement, excerpt. Vienna Philharmonic. Gilbert Kaplan. Wiener Singverein. Latonia Moore. Nadja Michael.
Cantor Moshe Koussevitzky: "Akavya Ben Mahalalel".
Ludwig van Beethoven: In questa tomba oscura, WoO 133. Arietta for voice and piano (or orchestra). Philharmonia Orchestra. Pierino Gamba. Luciano Pavarotti.
Guiseppe Verdi: Requiem. Excerpt. Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Herbert von Karajan. Wiener Singverein. Mirella Freni, Christa Ludwig, Carlo Cossutta and Nicolai Ghiaurov.
Conductor FRANZ WELSER-MÖST on conducting without a rehearsal: "The first time I conducted here [Vienna State Opera] was in '87. I was the assistant to Claudio Abbado for one season when he was music director here. Then there was this long gap. And then I conducted again: I stepped in, without any rehearsal, doing Tristan. And, you know, of course with rehearsals I would have done certain things differently. But the excitement of that night, I will never forget – and also it seems that the audience and the orchestra has not forgotten that."
Richard Wagner: Parsifal [excerpt from the Prelude to Act I]. Berlin Philharmonic. Daniel Barenboim.
Franz Schubert: Mass in G-major, "Gloria". Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Vienna State Opera Chorus. Claudio Abbado. Barbara Bonney. Andreas Schmidt.
Giuseppe Verdi: Don Carlo. Berlin Philharmonic. Herbert von Karajan. José Carreras. Piero Cappuccilli.
Joseph Frankel: "Yiddish Blues". Klezmer Conservatory Band.
Olivier Messiaen: Turangalîla Symphony "Joie du sang des étoiles". Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Riccardo Chailly. Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano. Takashi Harada, ondes martenot.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Così fan tutte [excerpt from Act I]. Philharmonia Orchestra. Herbert von Karajan. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Nan Merriman, Rolando Panerai, Leopold Simoneau, Sesto Bruscantini.
Former President of Major League Baseball ROBERT DUPUY on the impression Copland's Rodeo made on him: "One Sunday night my wife, who was pregnant with our first child at the time, and I went for a concert and it was a beautiful night and Aaron Copland was there conducting his own music with the Grant Park Symphony. He did Rodeo and that concert, now in 1972, remains vivid in both of our memories. We talk about it often. It really made an indelible impression."
Jack Norworth & Albert Von Tilzer: "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" [excerpt]. Boston Pops Orchestra. Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Keith Lockhart. Arrangement by David Chase.
Aaron Copland: Rodeo "Hoedown." London Symphony Orchestra. Aaron Copland.
Johann Sebastian Bach: Goldberg Variations [excerpt]. Glenn Gould.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Sonata no. 21 "Waldstein Sonata." First movement [excerpt].
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini [excerpt]. The New York Philharmonic. Leonard Bernstein. Gary Graffman, piano.
Bill Evans: "Waltz for Debby" [excerpt]. Bill Evans Trio: Bill Evans, piano; Scott LaFaro, bass; Paul Motian, drums.
Franz Schubert: String Quintet in C [excerpt]. Bernard Greenhouse, cello. GuarneriQuartet: Arnold Steinhardt, violin; John Dalley, violin; Michael Tree, viola; David Soyer, cello.
Playwright JOHN GUARE on why Arthur Schnabel is such a great pianist: "I picked Schnabel which is an old recording and it is not considered the finest. Schnabel is criticized for being too rough, and maybe too personal. But you really feel that Schnabel is climbing some kind of mountain, and doing battle, and having a great time with it and so that's why I love this."
Arnold Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht ("Transfigured Night"), Op. 4 for string sextet. The Hollywood String Quartet: Felix Slatkin and Paul Shure, violin. Paul Robyn, viola. Eleanor Aller, cello with Alvin Dinkin, viola and Kurt Reher, cello.
Ludwig van Beethoven: 33 Variations on a Waltz by Anton Diabelli, Op. 120 [excerpts]. Artur Schnabel, piano.
Francis Poulenc: Stabat Mater [excerpt]. Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Seiji Ozawa. Kathleen Battle, soprano.
Cole Porter: "Dream Dancing". Tony Bennett and Bill Evans.
Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier. [Final trio from Act III]. Philharmonia Orchestra. Herbert von Karajan. Christa Ludwig, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Teresa Stich-Randall.
Lukas Foss: Time Cycle (orchestral version) [excerpt]. Columbia Symphony Orchestra.
Leonard Bernstein. Lukas Foss, piano. Howard D. Colf, cello. Richard Dufallo, clarinet. Charles DeLancey, vibes. Adele Addison, soprano.
Conductor MARISS JANSONS on how to avoid problems with orchestras: "First, I think, you should know what you really want, how this piece should sound. You should have an interpretation model and you should know the sound model. You must come prepared completely 100%, and know what you want from your musicians. When you start too much improvisation, people feel, oh, he's not sure, you immediately lose your authority."
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major, OP. 92 [excerpt]. Berliner Philharmoniker. Herbert von Karajan.
Jean Sibelius: Symphony No. 1 in E major, OP. 39 [excerpt]. Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks. Mariss Jansons.
Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben, OP. 40 [excerpt]. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Mariss Jansons.
Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite. London Symphony Orchestra. Leopold Stokowski.
Dmitri Shostakovich: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk [excerpt]. London Philharmonic Orchestra. Ambrosian Opera Chorus. Mstislav Rostropovich.
Ella Fitzgerald: "Stairway to the Stars."
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D major [excerpt]. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Leonard Bernstein.
Former Chief Executive of Sony SIR HOWARD STRINGER on his trumpet solo mistake: "By the time I was seventeen, I was first trumpet in the school orchestra and we were going to be recorded playing the Messiah and obviously the trumpet part in the Messiah is quite tricky. I played the solo, 'The trumpet shall sound,' and I had played it in rehearsal that morning and I got it perfectly. And then [in the concert] came the moment when I stood up to play the solo for 'The trumpet shall sound' and I got half way through it and I blew up. My lip went. I just sagged. And it was heartbreaking."
George Frederic Handel: Messiah. "The trumpet shall sound" Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Sir Thomas Beecham. Jon Vickers.
Benjamin Britten: A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28 [excerpt]. Cambridge King's College Choir. Sir David Willcocks. James Clark and Julian Godlee, trebles.
Giacomo Puccini: Tosca. "Vissi d'arte" La Scala Orchestra. Victor de Sabata. Maria Callas.
Domenico Scarlatti: Sonata in E major, K.380 (L.23) Vladimir Horowitz.
Freddie Mercury: "Bohemian Rhapsody." Freddie Mercury and Queen.Hector Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 [Conclusion]. Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Paavo Järvi.