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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


Beethoven - Quartet 15 op 132

Talking to me about music is a bit like talking to me about cricket - I don’t even know the names of anyone who plays it. I remember Beethoven (but not the quartets) from my childhood when my father would play classical music. He had totally different tastes to my mother. She liked Louis Armstrong, or ‘Lewis’ as she used to call him. But my father liked quite a lot of Beethoven and some Schubert - he liked the trout, which I don’t. Those earlyish pieces do nothing for me. Beethoven seems to me so obviously to be the greatest that I don’t know what else to say about it. You know this stuff is genius in the same way that you know Shakespeare is genius or Kafka is genius. There’s an obviousness to it that makes you think, ‘Why did no one ever think of it before this?’ Which is a quality that applies to all great art.