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Baker's Dozen

Tour De France: Jonathan Meades Selects 13 Exercise Bike Classics
John Doran , March 6th, 2019 09:44

After a recent serious illness, writer and documentarian Jonathan Meades was prescribed 30 minutes a day on an exercise bike. He tells John Doran about his 13 favourite pieces of classical music to accompany his regimen


Brahms - Sextet 2 op 36

George Bernard Shaw called Brahms a leviathan maunderer - presumably you take umbrage at this description. Shaw’s description doesn’t really fit in with this idea of Brahms, the playful composer, who hid a dedication to his one true love, Agathe Von Siebold - in bars 162–168, with the notes a-g-a-h-e...

Brahms - like Shakespeare, like Beethoven - was so many different people, contained within one man. There are so many different moods and inflections, there’s no consistency and that’s what’s wonderful about him. It’s the same with many great painters and writers - they don’t really have a style, they have styles. Brahms lurches from one thing to another, a lot. I listened to the Quintet this morning and then I listened to the Quartet and they could easily have been written by different hands. Yes, he is playful but at other times he’s very mournful and then at other times he exhibits passionate despair, there are all sorts of thing going on there. Also, I’m allergic to George Bernard Shaw, I really don’t like him.