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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


Schubert - Quartet 14 Death And The Maiden

The final movement of ‘Death And The Maiden’ is a tarantella, which gallops along at a fair old pace. Is this up tempo music ideal for your exercise bike?

A lot of this Quartet goes at an incredible pace. Am I keeping pace with it? Yes, sometimes I am. [LAUGHS] I try to at least. I don’t always let the music set the tempo because I need to do 30 - 35 minutes at a particular level but yes when the tempo is as upfront as it is in ‘Death And The Maiden’ I do. I don’t think one can help oneself to a certain extent. When I listen to ‘Death And The Maiden’ it does transport me but in a very abstract sense. I tend to think of this music as stripes. I can’t explain this and I don’t think about it, I just ‘see’ this music as horizontal stripes as if an enormous football shirt had been turned on its side. I think there is something quite terrifying about this piece. The endless repetition.