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.
Critic of the New Yorker Alex Ross on John Cage's music as a philosophical exercise: "It was, I think, an exercise that Cage performed, after so much noisy music, after the first half of the 20th century, with all these explosions of dissonance and so on. He said 'Well, let's go to the other extreme. Let's see what happens if the performer does absolutely nothing and we listen to the sounds of the room.' It's not actually a silent piece. It's about the performers making no sound, and everyone focusing in on whatever else happens to be making noise in any given moment. And it's, you know, as much a philosophical exercise as a piece of music, but it has a very serious intent to it."
Olivier Messiaen: Des Canyons aux Étoiles "Zion Park and the Celestial City" [excerpt]. Asko Ensemble, Schönberg Ensemble, Slagwerkgroep Den Haag. Reinbert de Leeuw.
Richard Strauss: Salome "Ah! Ich habe deinen Mund geküsst, Jochanaan". Vienna
Philharmonic. Herbert von Karajan. Hildegard Behrens, soprano. Karl-
Walter Böhm, tenor.
John Adams: Nixon in China "This is Prophetic!" [excerpt]. Orchestra of St. Luke's. Edo de Waart. Carolann Page, soprano.
Hanns Eisler: Der heimliche Aufmarsch. Ernst Busch, vocalist. Pläne 88642.
Björk: Vespertine "An Echo, a Stain". Björk, vocalist.
Morton Feldman: Madame Press Died Last Week at Ninety. Orchestra of St. Luke's. John Adams.
Former President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso on the Samba vs. the Tango: "The tango is dramatic but the tango is waiting for disaster. The Argentineans have the Hispanic sense of tragedy. It's a passion capable to kill. Brazil is the opposite. The samba is basically about love and we are waiting for a good life. And Brazilians prefer not to kill."
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 for Soprano and 8 Cellos [excerpt]. Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française. Heitor Villa-Lobos, conductor. Victoria de los Angeles, soprano.
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cello Suite No. l in G major, BWV 1007. Prelude. Mstislav Rostropovich, cello.
Giacomo Puccini: Madame Butterfly. "Un bel die, vedremo." Philharmonia Orchestra. Lorin Maazel. Renata Scotto.
Vincenzo Bellini: Norma "Casta diva." Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra. Tullio Serafin. Maria Callas, soprano.
Caetano Veloso: "Lua de São Jorge" [excerpt].
Johannes Brahms: A German Requiem, Op. 45 [excerpt]. Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus. Otto Klemperer.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G minor, KV550 [fourth movement]. Berlin Philharmonic. Karl Böhm.
Architect Richard Meier on the symphonic architecture of Beethoven's Ninth: "I remember walking into the space of St. Peter's and you're just not prepared for the magnificence of that experience. It's overwhelming – there's nothing like it. I feel the same thing about Beethoven's Ninth. When you listen to that music, the quality of space, the quality of everything about it, from the structure, to the form, to the color, to the tonality, to the highs and the lows – it all works and it works together in the most magnificent way. It's, for me, every time I listen to it, a memorable experience. It exudes joy, it smiles, it's happy, it's uplifting, it's everything you want a creative work to be."
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat Major, Op. 19. Berlin Philharmonic. Ferdinand Leitner. Wilhelm Kempff, piano.
Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story: Prologue.
Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90. Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Sir George Solti.
Philip Glass: Einstein on the Beach: "Building." The Philip Glass Ensemble.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, op 125. Berlin Philharmonic. Herbert von Karajan. Janet Perry, Soprano; Agnes Baltsa, Contralto; Vinson Cole, Tenor; José van Dam, Baritone. Wiener Singverein.
States Court of Appeals Justice Diane Wood on the first oboe solo she played with an orchestra: "The reason I picked the Marcello Oboe Concerto is because this is the first oboe solo I ever played with a full orchestra behind me. I had taken up the oboe at a somewhat older age when I was in my late 30s and had painstakingly brought up my ability to play and began to play with orchestras. And I love the baroque style. I love this particular concerto because it means a lot to me – my oboe teacher selected it for me and the second movement in particular I find quite lovely."
Alessandro Marcello: Oboe Concerto. Academy of London. Richard Stamp. Ray Still.
Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No. 1. Academy of St. Martin-in-the Fields. Neville Marriner.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Don Giovanni "Madamina". Vienna Philharmonic. Josef Krips. Fernando Corena.
Robert Wright and George Forrest (based on themes of Alexander Borodin): Kismet: "And This is My Beloved." London Symphony. Paul Gemignani. Ruth Ann Swenson, Samuel Ramey, Dom De Luise, Jerry Hadley.
Antonin Dvorák: Symphony No. 9 "From the New World." Vienna Philharmonic. Herbert von Karajan.
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Sheherazade. Mariinsky Orchestra. Valery Gergiev.
Choreographer Paul Taylor on how Handel fit into very modern dance: "I liked the idea of using Handel because at that time – this was like middle 60s – modern choreographers were supposed to use modern music. And very little had been done to Baroque music. And being young, me, and kind of cheeky, I thought it would be fun and kind of like a slap in the face to those people who thought that modern dance had to be restricted to modern music, in the kind of modern at that time was Béla Bartók or Wallingford Rieger or – you know, which is fine, but I wanted to be different."
George Frederick Handel: Jephtha, HWV 70 Sinfonia. English Baroque Soloists. John Eliot
Astor Piazzolla: Escualo. Gidon Kremer, violin; Friedrich Lips, bajan; Svjatoslav Lips,
piano; Vladimir Tonkha, cello; Mark Pekarsky, percussion.
Edward Elgar: Serenade for String Orchestra in E minor, Op. 20 and Elegy for String
Orchestra, Op. 58 (with loon calls).
Johann Sebastian Bach: Chorale-Prelude 'Giant Fugue' "Wir glauben all' an einen Gott"
BWV 680. Transcribed for orchestra by Leopold Stokowski. Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Robert Pikler.
Arcangelo Corelli: Excerpts from various Concerti Grossi combined with Malloy Miller
Prelude for Percussion.
George Frederick Handel: Concerto Grosso No. 2 in B-flat major, Op 3. Largo. English Baroque Soloists. John Eliot Gardiner.
Gustav Mahler: "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen" from Rückertlieder. Berlin Philharmonic. Karl Böhm. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone.
Cabaret singer Barbara Cook on how authentic music can touch people: "You know, I pour my life's blood into a song. I pour every hurt, every wonderful thing. My life is in these songs when I sing, and to me that's the way to go. You see, the thing is, you're safe then, because when you do that, when you do that in an authentic way, you touch people."
Sergei Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3. New York Philharmonic. Eugene Ormandy. Vladimir Horowitz, piano.
Sergei Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 19. Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Charles Dutoit. Joshua Bell, violin.
Amanda McBroom: "Ship in a Bottle". Barbara Cook.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64. Vienna Philharmonic. Valery Gergiev.
Keb' Mo': "City Boy". Keb' Mo'.
Michael Tippett: Concerto for Double String Orchestra. Second movement [excerpt]. Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Michael Tippett. Virgin Classics 90701-2.
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 5. Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. Gustavo Dudamel.
Conductor Pierre Boulez on controlling his emotions when conducting: "I don't rely only on myself emotionally when I conduct. You cannot just be emotional about it, in my opinion. Because then the structure is not anymore there. I look at all these types of combinations of expressions, and then after I can say when I am aware of that, then I can be more emotional because I know what it is inside. And I think the more you know the score, the more intuitive you can be. That's a paradox. But I mean, for me, intuition is not given. On the contrary. Intuition comes as a supplement of knowledge. I have always this intuition, which is really established by analysis. And that is my way of looking at scores. You know, I like precision, detail, organization, and then when I have that under control, then I can begin to fly, really."
Igor Stravinsky: Les Noces. English Bach Festival Percussion Ensemble. Leonard Bernstein. Pianos: Martha Argerich, Krystian Zimerman, Cyprien Katsaris, Homero Francesch.
Richard Wagner: Parsifal. Excerpt from Vorspiel. Bayreuth Festival Orchestra. Pierre
Arnold Schoenberg : Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21. Nos. 8 & 9. Ensemble InterContemporain. Pierre Boulez. Christine Schäfer.
Gustav Mahler : Symphony No. 3. Vienna Philharmonic. Pierre Boulez. Anne Sofie von Otter.
Pierre Boulez : Sur Incises. Ensemble InterContemporain. Pierre Boulez.
Frank Zappa: "Dupree's Paradise". Ensemble InterContemporain. Pierre Boulez.
Anton Webern: Five Movements, Op. 5. (Version for String Orchestra) No. 5. Berlin Philharmonic. Pierre Boulez.
Financier Felix Rohatyn on his love for the cello and Yo-Yo Ma: "I love the cello and I love Yo-Yo Ma, who I think is an extraordinary musician, an extraordinary human being. And there are not that many cello concertos that I really relate to: there's the Schumann, and there's the first Haydn. And I picked the Schumann partly because I can hum it a little better than the Haydn, or whistle it, or think about it when I'm wandering around in the garden. Because it is romantic and it is music to dance to, almost. And this wonderful Yo-Yo Ma, playing this concerto."
Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, op. 37. Alfred Brendel, piano. Chicago Symphony Orchestra. James Levine.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Mass in C minor, K.427. "Et incarnatus est" from the Credo. Barbara Bonney, soprano. Berlin Philharmonic. Claudio Abbado.
Robert Schumann: Cello Concerto. Yo-Yo Ma, cello. Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Sir Colin Davis.
Antonio Carlos Jobim: The Girl From Ipanema. Stan Getz, tenor saxophone. Astrud and João Gilberto, vocal.
Johannes Brahms: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major, Op. 77. Isaac Stern, violin. New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Zubin Mehta.